Although a country rich in history, the Dominican Republic is often poor in its grasp of the people that shape its nation. Without anything more than a shallow idea of its significance, many young Dominicans are constrained by prejudice and discrimination and therefore lack access to many aspects of life taken for granted in the United States. Gender inequality is significant, rural public schools are severely underperforming, and a university education is too expensive for most families. Even basic social services are out of reach for many. Although a substantial majority of the population is of African heritage, social constructs within Latin America and the Caribbean have historically marginalized people who have darker skin.
Over the past five years, Peace Corps volunteers have organized a major conference to bring together youth leaders in the Cibao region to discuss discrimination and the importance of cultural diversity. I participated in my first conference last year and was pushed by their enthusiasm to work much more with my youth group. For many of the young participants, the Celebrando Cibao conference is a life-changing experience. During the three-day conference, participants have a safe environment in which to examine their own culture, be introduced to other cultures, and gain the tools to combat discrimination in their communities. We look forward to planning the sixth annual Celebrando Cibao Conference, to be held August 22-24, 2009 and as a vital step in the process we are asking for your help with funding! I know that times are tough in the states, and for that reason I am not asking for anything more than $50 from any one of you, but literally anything you give will go a long way. Thanks again in advance! Follow the link below to donate to the Diversity and Leadership Youth Camp. (The volunteer name listed on the project is Hinojosa L. of CA and the project # is 517-290)
Donate to Dominican Youth!
Check out my older blog "Celebrando...El Cibao! Celebrando...Diversidad!" from September 2008 to see what last year's conference was like.