Seen here on their 2015 trip, seven Red Bank Regional and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional girls plan to return to the Dominican Republic Wednesday. They are, from left, Hannah Horan, Caroline Healey, Paige Borden, Mara Campolattaro, Olivia Turi, Annabel Morris and Maddie Orr. (Photo by Tim Orr Photography. Click to enlarge.)
A year after helping to build a water line to a remote village in the Dominican Republic, seven seven sophomore girls from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional and Red Bank Regional high schools plan to travel to the Caribbean nation again Wednesday.
The girls, who travel with their fathers and pay their own way, raise all of the funds for their humanitarian missions themselves, according to Mara Campolattaro, one of the participants. All the money raised goes directly to funding projects for things like supplies, local expertise and transportation on the island, she said.
The girls at work building a water supply that saved rural villagers a two-mile walk. (Photo by Tim Orr Photography. Click to enlarge.)
In the Dominican Republic, we find desperately needed projects through ILAC (Institute for Latin American Concern), an organization started in 1980 to not only bring aid but to teach health and agriculture techniques to the Dominican people. We were introduced to ILAC by one of our dads, Brian Campolattaro, MD, who has been traveling to the Dominican Republic for the last 15 years performing surgery at ILAC’s mission center outside of Santiago. ILAC hosts many charitable efforts throughout the year.
Last year, we built an underground aqueduct to bring fresh, clean water right to the doorsteps of villagers for the first time. We worked alongside the people of the village for four days digging, moving large rocks, breaking ground, laying pipes and more in order to establish a reservoir and main pipeline for the village, as well as smaller irrigation systems which brought the clean water directly to the households. Before this project, the villagers had to walk approximately two miles, each way, for clean water. We were fortunate enough to see the project to completion and were there to watch as the first burst of water reached the village! It was an amazing four days and the bonds we created with the people were life-altering.
This November, we will be traveling back to the Dominican Republic, this time to Comedero Village, a small village located in the central region where 300 families reside. We will be helping to repair and restore two dilapidated buildings in Comedero: the schoolhouse and a medical clinic. The schoolhouse serves as not only an educational center for one hundred local, needy children, but is also the pinnacle of town meetings, educational lectures and cultural activities. The rural clinic is located in the same community and serves over 3,000 patients annually along with providing essential screening and educational support programs. These two buildings are vital to the well-being and growth of the residents of Comedero. It is imperative that we are able to make repairs on these buildings so that the villagers can be not only comfortable but safe as they use the spaces.
Last year, our mission was only made possible through generous donations. Our goal for this year is $15,000. Donations would be greatly appreciated so that we may be able to successfully complete our mission this year to help the people of Comedero Village. No amount is too little! Any size donation would help and would definitely go a long way! All funds raised will go directly towards our project for things like supplies, materials and expertise as we undertake renovations. Our flights, meals and housing expenses have been paid for by our families.
To donate, please visit our GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/heretohelpdr2016
We are also collecting school supplies for the children in the village. Any and all school supplies are appreciated! Even if you have some extra pens or notebooks in your closet, we encourage you donate them! With your help, we can succeed with our 2016 mission! More information regarding school supply donation and other contact information can be found on our GoFundMe page.