WER is funding a team of social workers who are working with vulnerable children and their families in Puerto Plata and who are identifying children who would benefit from attending the Integracion Juvenil Centre.
The social workers have been carrying out evaluations of children living in Aguas Negras and Playa Oeste, two of Puerto Plata’s most impoverished neighbourhoods. By working closely with the children and conducting interviews with their parents, the team are able to assess each individual child’s needs and his/her suitability for attending the Integracion Juvenil Centre in the nearby town of Munoz.
This process is helping to ensure that the needs of particularly vulnerable children are identified and that appropriate action is taken. Many young people living in Puerto Plata’s impoverished neighbourhoods grow up with low self-esteem and, faced with considerable economic and social problems, some turn to crime and delinquency. At the IJ Centre, children are given the opportunity to attend literacy and vocational classes and benefit from the supportive and educational environment provided by IJ staff.
Many children from these communities do not have birth certificates, which prevents them from being able to enrol in the state school system, and illiteracy rates are high in many communities. The team of social workers have already helped to obtain birth certificates for approximately 200 children. This is opening up doors of opportunity for these young people and is giving them a hope for the future.
By reaching out to vulnerable children, WER and IJ are helping young people break free from the cycle of poverty and are empowering local communities to build a brighter future.
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