Yolanda from The Dominican Republic

Yolanda and her family

Yolanda started in university this past January on a Kids Alive university scholarship!   

For any young adult beginning university studies is a celebrated milestone, but for youth like Yolanda, this achievement was once an improbable and almost unthinkable dream. We first met Yolanda fifteen years ago when she entered a new program that we started for young Haitians who were being denied access to school in the Dominican Republic because they didn’t understand much Spanish, they lacked legal identities, and their parents avoided institutions due to severe discrimination or fear of deportation. When our ANIJA School began working with Haitian children who were likely to end up illiterate, Yolanda was in the first group. As she learned to read and write in Spanish, she eventually entered into the regular school classes. 

By eighth grade graduation from ANIJA, Yolanda was one of our best students, had great Bible knowledge and a spiritual maturity beyond her young age.  She also was now the oldest of five siblings and serving as a mentor and guide in her family with two working parents. 

"Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice." Amos 5.15

Last summer, Yolanda graduated from high school, again with excellent grades and very good testimony in her church and community. We have been able to help her for close to fifteen years not only with education, nutrition and spiritual guidance but also with the high cost of obtaining legal documentation such as a birth certificate, a passport and visas which allow her to enroll and enter in university (a cost that her family could never afford without a Kids Alive scholarship). 

“I remember visiting Yolanda in her shanty like home in a field around five years ago at a time when Haitians were aggressively and often unfairly being deported from the Dominican Republic to Haiti,” recalls KADR Co-country Director Vic Trautwein.  “I asked Yolanda if she was concerned or scared about being deported, and she calmly replied, ‘God has been with us here [in the Domincan Republic] and will be with us if we have to go back to Haiti too.’  I’ll always remember her words as I found my own faith challenged by her deep trust in God at such a young age. And I was also glad Kids Alive could play a role in her development.”  

It's been our great privilege to help youth like Yolanda emerge from difficult circumstances to be a high capacity, light for Christ in her family, church and community.   

“Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.” Isaiah 58:12 

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