“We Need Their Help:” Dominican Republic Caretakers Express Their Gratitude For Donors
By Kaitlyn Nuebel
Freddy Emanuel Castillo has spent more than 15 years helping immigrants in the “barrios,” impoverished communities in the province of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. When Castillo heard about a shipment of medical supplies Brother’s Brother Foundation had sent to Fundación Nueva Alegria (FNA), an organization that collaborates with doctors and medical partners providing aid in the barrios, he requested a walker for an older patient whom he cares for.
“Tell [the donors] we need their help [and] that the folks in the barrios rarely have enough for food, let alone for the purchase of costly medicines and walkers,” Castillo said. “Tell them that we so appreciate their generosity, that we are so thankful for everything they do. We need them!”
Over 10 million people live in the Dominican Republic, roughly 10% of whom are undocumented Haitians who crossed the border to find work and security. These Haitians may not have to contend with the political disturbances occurring back in their home country, but their lives are anything but stable. Located in the middle of a hurricane belt, the Dominican Republic is subject to many storms and earthquakes. Haitian immigrants who don’t have citizenship in the Dominican Republic lack public benefits such as healthcare, making them more vulnerable to the damage to that comes with a natural disaster.
BBF’s shipment contained 26 pallets of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, a total that weighed more than ten tons. FNA distributed the supplies to Regional Hospital Dr. Marcelino Velez Santana and Fundación Medico Arca de Sanidad (FUNMARSA). Healthcare providers were particularly thankful for the antibiotics they used t treat patients with cold, flu, and COVID-19 symptoms.
“Without the assistance of the donated medicines, it would be impossible for us to assist so many people in our hospitals, clinics and outreaches,” Dr. Kenia Martinez, volunteer lead doctor of FNA and aboard member of FUNMARSA, said.