We have sent our students who have passed through our school to several different high schools in the Puerto Plata area. We finally found one that we decided to work with exclusively. In contrast to the United States and Canada, public schools in the Dominican Republic are not necessarily accessible to all and are not necessarily organized based on where students live.
These are but a few of the reasons that we send our students to a private school. The owner and director of the school, Adelaida de Jesus, only allows 12 students per classroom. She and her staff have been very sensitive and cooperative in working with our students, who are Haitian immigrants or children of Haitian immigrants living in the Dominican Republic. Lastly, the location of the school is within walking distance from the community where the majority of our students live.
Adelaida was never able to purchase a property in which to permanently house her school, but rented a building for 18 years, until 2019. She rented a house and remodeled it, turning it into a school that meets all the physical requirements of the Ministry of Education. Her school, Colegio Costambar, has been recognized as one of the best private schools in the area.
In 2019, the man who had rented the property over the past 18 years forced her to move out as she could not pay to purchase it. She found another rental but it was more expensive, inadequate for a school, and in a much less convenient location. At the end of the year, covid-19 and the country’s lockdown caused parents to not pay tuition, although classes continued virtually. As the year ends, Adelaida feels as though after 35 years, she is given no other choice but to close the school’s doors.
We honestly do not wish to send our students anywhere else. We are hoping to partner with Adelaida to find a proper location for the school and to assist her with the English portion that is provided in the afternoons. This will also allow us to have closer oversight and influence over our students’ educational experiences. We are fundraising to put a down payment on a wonderful location, which would then be paid off by monthly payments over the course of the next eight years. The owner has agreed to accept the deposit in two portions - one this summer for $38,000, and the second part after one year for $12,000.
Here are the words of Adelaida, explaining the history of Colegio Costambar:
“I started the school in 1985 when I was 16 years old. I had come to Puerto Plata to work in a pre-school program. I was studying at this time in the university to become a teacher. I graduated in 1989. The school began with 18 children. It grew from there. We started with pre-school. Then in 1989 we added elementary school. We added one grade level every year. From the beginning, it was based in moral and spiritual values. Students were taught about unity, diversity, given understanding of what it is to be human, and that they were nobly created. In 1991, the school was accredited by the Ministry of Education to operate at the pre-school and elementary school levels. This was a very important step.”
“After this time, I did a post-graduate program in Culture and continued receiving formation for private school management. The school has filled a very important role in the community because the importance of virtues is what has permeated the education of Colegio Costambar. During these 35 uninterrupted years working in the area of education, we feel very grateful to the community of Puerto Plata. We have also been able to use the school for spiritual activities, sports activities, and social activities which serve the community. The school has been a center of human resources to serve the community. This has been the work that I, Adelaida de Jesus have dedicated myself to during these years. I have a huge appreciation for the opportunity to educate in this community.”
We also invite you to view an interview with Adelaida in front of the hopeful building: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6AfQPw5XzE
We deeply appreciate any amount of support that you can provide. We are also selling these wonderfully woven dolls that represent the girls of the Dominican Republic as a fundraiser. https://www.goodfruitdesigns.com/product-page/wonderfully-woven-crocheted-dolls
Nov. 24, 2020 update: The school was able to begin in the new location on September 22, 2020. It is mainly functioning online, with pre-schoolers and kindergarteners attending in person. It is one of the few schools in Puerto Plata receiving students in person at all! The economy has taken a huge shock throughout this 8+ month lockdown. We all look forward to school reopening normally, although no date is yet set.