Project Esperanza

Project Esperanza is a non-profit organization that primarily serves the Haitian immigrant population of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in the areas of education, social aid, and community development. It began as a Virginia Tech student organization began by a few enthusiastic students in 2005 who had taken volunteer trips to the Dominican Republic and hoped to engage others in continuing to do so. After the group's first trip to Puerto Plata in 2006, they became incorporated, and then got non-profit status in both the United States and the Dominican Republic. One of the first projects the group worked on upon arriving in Puerto Plata was a street census where they collected information on 140 boys who worked on the streets all day every day shining shoes or street vending of some sort. This opened up doors into a whole new world where they have worked ever since to use creative, innovative, patient, and consistent ways to empower the powerless they met and to meet their needs.

The organization's largest financial investment has been its grassroots schools, which are designed to serve Haitian immigrant children who face many difficulties integrating into the Dominican public schools. The Institution of the Improvement of Life Through Education serves the community of Padre Granero, which is where Project Esperanza began the grassroots schools program in December 2006. It is a high priority for the organization that this school become and remain sustainable. The vision is absolute overall health of the students the school serves and their families along with a much brighter future.

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