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Isabel, Dominican Republic: "We are driven by the thought of our children’s future"

“My husband and I work hard because we are driven by the thought of our children and their future,” begins Isabel. “When an adverse situation arises, what we do is focus on how to solve it and continue with our task as parents.”

Isabel and her husband are coffee and cacao farmers, living in Ozama, in the Dominican Republic. Cacao is vital to their livelihood, and when harvests were abundant, things worked well. However, problems would often arise whenever the harvest would end.

“Before, after harvest season, our income would disappear because cacao was the primary source of income we have. Now when that moment of need comes, we have the security in the savings group that we can go and take a loan to solve the needs that arise when there is no harvest,” she explains.

Dominican Republic children helping on the family farm

Tree planting is a critical foundation for environmental restoration. Local farmers like Isabel and her family plant trees in the community and on their own farms, boosting their food security and economic resilience. It's a virtuous cycle that lifts entire communities out of poverty while restoring the earth.

“Before I joined a Purpose Group, I wasted the resources that came my way. Since joining, my life has totally changed. Now my husband and I set goals, and together we are achieving many things that we couldn't before due to lack of guidance. We were able to improve our house using savings, and my husband saw the cacao harvests increase. We received training on how to manage the plantations correctly, which helped the harvests be more plentiful. We have achieved all this through the group, and now we can see the difference in my Dominican Republic children and family's life.

“I made the decision to start saving money. In my Purpose Group, I discovered that savings are necessary for someone to leave poverty, become self-sufficient, and achieve their goals. It’s through saving that I’ve achieved positive changes in my life and with my children.

“I used my first loan to solve a health problem that came up. I bought medicine that I couldn’t afford, but I applied for a loan in the group, and I was able to solve it without any problems. I am grateful to God for the existence of this project. Now I feel better, I feel more useful in the community.”

The Purpose Group also provides a place for members to find social support. “As a community, we get along. The families here share the value of respect. However, we do worry about young people today being tempted by delinquency. We must work with them to keep our harmony as a community,” reports Isabel.

“For me, I know I would be very distressed if my Dominican Republic children were taken in by harmful influences. Younger people can be vulnerable, so parents need to be always alert.”

Within her family, Isabel’s children are developing positive practices.

“My children are still small, but they participate in household chores and around the farm,” shares Isabel. “When there is a cacao harvest, the older ones after school join my husband to work. They help him harvest the cacao, while the younger ones help with the cleaning in the house.

“Parenthood is less difficult for me, because our family is united. Of course, there are always obstacles that mothers face, but I am always positive. My parents taught me to face challenges with courage.

“I learned that we have to work hard while we are young and to use our resources wisely. The habit of saving money and trusting God are the most important things I’ve learned. I want to pass all this on to my children so that they will do well tomorrow.

“I would like the whole community to continue adopting and taking advantage of everything we learned to do in the group that we didn't know before. This is wonderful. Our children are growing up knowing the culture of saving and learning to be more aware of the importance of the environment. I ask God, as we do in every meeting, to keep us united. Life here is different now, the change can be seen in the surroundings, the environment, and in people's behavior''.

About the Author

Plant With Purpose seeks to restore hope by reversing two of the world’s greatest challenges: global poverty and environmental damage. These problems are interconnected.

Our goal is to see creation’s life-giving regenerative cycles restored and people renewed through their relationship to God, living in healthy sufficiency and empowered to dream.

We operate in eight countries around the world. Our international work is 100% locally-led, with global offices operating both as independent agencies within their country, and alliance partners with Plant With Purpose U.S., which supports their ongoing work.

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