A room full of joy and youthful energy

Written by: 
Debbie Davidson


Today was a day filled with joy, accompanied by lots of noise and enthusiastic laughter.

We facilitated a one-day leadership workshop at Fudesa where we are currently staying. How lovely to be able to just walk across the street to the church and find tables set up with tablecloths and comfy chairs for the participants. Even though we have only been here for 4 days, we were greeted warmly by the Fudesa staff and our translators as though we were lifelong friends. 

There were about 45 participants, including 3 representatives from the Ministry of Women and the Ministry of Health. The remainder included teachers, community leaders and approximately 20 students from the high school.  

The group didn’t need any prompting to participate in the goal setting process and clearly identified the concerns they have for their community. A brainstorming exercise filled 2 flipchart sheets. The 3 concerns that they chose to work on were the following:

- Teen pregnancy and early marriage

- Lack of financial knowledge – poor spending habits

- Breakdown of family unit – neglect of children.  

The presentations given by the small groups to the large group were greeted with claps and cheers of support as they came forward with some amazingly realistic solutions. They were all impressive, but the one group we were blown away with was the one for teen pregnancy/early marriage which is a significant problem in the DR. They felt that a lack of love and affection from their families was one of the main causes. These are the campaigns they will initiate:

1. T shirts with “Hug your son” printed on them to help normalize and encourage normal affection.  

2. “Date your princess” events at the church where fathers can invite their daughter on a date where they will spend quality time at a table dedicated to them. 

3. “Eat one meal a day with your family”. So often families never sit down as a family; teens are often left to care for the younger children but never feel connected to the mother and father.  

What an amazing experience it was to see how with just a little encouragement, this community could come alive and it showed us, once again, the change that can happen when you encourage open communication. They showed such care and compassion for the families in this community, and I believe that they will follow through on their pledge to continue the process and put their ideas into action.  

The highlight of the day was the shouts of support as each person received their certificate of attendance. I’m sure that the next town was wondering what was happening! There was clapping, yelling, and dancing ….and of course hugs from all our new friends.  Its hard to believe that we only have 2 more days in this amazing place! Not even the frequent downpour of rain can dampen our spirits. I will go to sleep tonight dreaming of their laughter and smiles. 

Debbie D. 



Today was a day filled with joy, accompanied by lots of noise and enthusiastic laughter.

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