Dominican Republic

Through JLM and Breakaway Outreach partnerships in the Dominican Republic, we work hand in hand with the local church in fulfilling the Great Commission among some of the poorest villages in the Western Hemisphere; facilitating sports outreach, youth empowerment, and community development projects.

The new basketball court we built for Dominican orphans in 2017.

Missional Focus

Our missional focus in the Dominican Republic is to partner with indigenous communities in sharing the Gospel in word and deed, by serving the holistic needs of vulnerable children and impoverished communities.

We help mobilize teams for children’s ministry with orphans, outreach to migrant children in the bateyes, and community-wide sports clinics for youth. Our network has the opportunity to send mission teams to assist the local church in offering basic humanitarian aid such as providing clean drinking water, promoting health and nutrition programs, building sanitary latrines, and assisting with construction projects.

Some of this work takes place in the sugar plantations of the Dominican Republic, where Haitian immigrants live in “bateyes.” Bateyes are extremely poor communities of marginalized tribes who live in bleak conditions. They often go without adequate running water, garbage collection, or sanitary latrines. They are a stateless people with limited access to education, health care, and social services. This has created a cycle of illiteracy and extreme generational poverty.

And yet many of those in the bateyes suffer from an even deeper plight—spiritual poverty.

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dominican republic missions

Sports Equipment Needed

If you have any baseball equipment or other sports gear lying around that isn’t being used, please consider donating it to our Dominican Republic partnership. Baseball is a major incentive that keeps many youths off the crime-ridden streets. Contributing sports equipment like balls and gloves is one way that we can combat extreme boredom and help curb delinquency in the Dominican Republic. Contact us for a drop off location in your area.

Snapshot of the Dominican Republic

Population: There are over 9.2 million people in the Dominican Republic. Over 70% of the population is mulatto, while Haitian and Spanish peoples form the largest minority groups in the country.

Poverty: Roughly two-thirds of its population lives in poverty — 20 percent of those under the poverty line are currently living in extreme poverty. Many of the poorer people may not even have access to basic amenities. Most Dominicans who live in rural areas work on farms. Some own small farms and raise their own food. They sell some of what they raise to buy clothing, household goods, and other items. Other Dominican farmers work for wages on large plantations, especially sugar plantations. Many Dominican farmers live in two-room shacks that have thatched roofs and dirt floors while most city dwellers earn a living as factory workers, as government employees, or by fishing. Many of the city dwellers live in crowded, old Spanish-style apartment buildings.

Human Trafficking: Human trafficking in the Dominican Republic is the third largest international crime enterprise in the Caribbean, generating 9.5 billion U.S. dollars annually. Dominican women and children are subjected to forced sex in their own country and throughout the Caribbean, Europe, South America, and the United States. Women from other countries are brought to the Dominican Republic for prostitution, and an unknown number may have subsequently become trafficking victims, even if they came voluntarily at first. Child sex tourism is an ongoing problem, particularly in coastal resort areas, with child sex tourists arriving year-round from various countries. Out of all areas in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has the highest amount of trafficked persons; women are trafficked to Costa Rica and Panama as well as to Western Europe.

Land Area: Covering 18,703 square miles, the Dominican Republic is approximately the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined or the province of Nova Scotia.

Major cities: Santo Domingo is the capital with a population of 2.7 million. Santiago de Los Caballeros is the second largest city with 1 million residents. However, nearly 50% percent of the country’s population lives in towns of less than 10,000 people.

Languages: The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish, though Dominican Spanish is its own distinct dialect with different slangs and pronunciations than other countries.

Location: Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, the Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola. The West Indies republic shares a common border with Haiti that runs for 193 miles on the D.R.’s western boundary. Located between Puerto Rico and Cuba, the country has a coastline of more than 1,000 miles.

Terrain: Four mountain ranges run almost parallel across the country from east to west. The principal one is the Cordillera Central which crosses the middle of the country. One of the range’s peaks, Pico Duarte (3,087 meters or 10,094 feet above sea level) is the highest point in the Caribbean. The Valley of the Cibao, nestled in the upper central part of the country, is considered the Dominican Republic’s “food basket” and produces fruits, vegetables and sugar cane.

Climate: Ocean currents and year-round trade winds moderate the tropical heat and the temperature varies little with the seasons. At lower elevations, temperatures range from 65 to 95 (18C to 35C) degrees while it is slightly cooler at higher altitudes. Average annual rainfall is 55 inches (140 cm to 180 cm) with two pronounced rainy seasons – the first in May and the second in October.

Government: A representative democracy with three independent branches of government: the executive, legislative and judicial. Elections for congressional, municipal and presidential offices are held simultaneously every four years. The Supreme Court has nine members appointed by the Senate. Each of the 29 provinces is headed by a presidentially appointed governor. Mr. Leonel Fernandez is the current president of the country.

Religions: All religions are tolerated but the majority of the population is considered Roman Catholic which is the state religion.

Industry: With an agriculturally based economy, the most important export crops are sugar, tobacco and coffee. The principal industrial activity is processing agriculture products. Tourism is also a leading source of income in the D.R.

Flag: The Dominican flag is divided into four sections separated by a white cross. Its upper left section is dark blue; the lower left is red. On the right side of the cross, the colors are reversed. The national coat-of-arms appears in the center. It is the only flag is the world that contains a symbol of the Bible.

Culture: The Dominican Republic’s culture blends Spanish, African, and indigenous Taino practices. The fast-paced dance musical styles of merengue and bachata were created in the Dominican Republic. Rock and rap have also become increasingly popular, especially among the youth. Baseball dominates the country’s sports scene, though basketball and boxing are also popular.

Food: Dominican meals generally contain rice, beans, some type of meat, and a small salad. Lunch is the main meal of the day in the Dominican Republic. Another popular dish is sanocho, a stew that uses several kinds of meat. Flan, dulce de leche, rice pudding, and sugarcane are all popular desserts in the country.