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Margarita, Dominican Republic: "The change in my life has been enormous"

Margarita is a farmer and mother living in the Ozama watershed of the Dominican Republic, farming her land. Like many mothers, she worries about her children and their safety.

“I worry a lot about my children and their safety when going to school,” she tells us. “The road is very long, and they have to cross a river two times to get there. When it rains, I am tormented, because the river rises.

“On one occasion it rained a lot, and the river rose up. I was pregnant, but I had to go out to look for them in the rain. I thought they may have gotten caught in the middle. Sending the children to school is the most difficult part in this community, because of the distance.”

Dominican Republic farming

When trees are planted, roots help maintain the stability of water sources like rivers. While some disasters are beyond anyone’s control, ecological care can help mitigate some of these threats to families like Margarita’s.

Despite her concerns over her kids’ safety on their way to school, Margarita is aware that education is key for them being able to live a better life.

“Education remains a top concern,” she maintains. “I have a daughter on the cusp of finishing school. We want her to go to university, but that also means she would have to travel far away alone. She has no experience outside her environment here. I am worried about their continued studies in the future.”

This is a concern shared among others in her Dominican Republic farming community.

“A common concern for parents here is the environment we are raising our children in. We want to be different from others, but this is difficult because we cannot prevent them from being with others who might have different values. Others who might not share the foundation we are raising our children with. It worries us, but at the same time, we are confident that our children will not deviate from the principles learned at home,” she adds.

Plant With Purpose helps mothers like Margarita remove barriers to things like education. At Purpose Groups, members can build savings and take out loans for things like school fees. For Margarita, these savings also helped her make an investment in her children’s safety.

“I was able to use my Purpose Group savings to buy a plot of land near Yamasa. This is where I can build a small house for my children to stay in while attending university. Thanks to God and the assistance of Plant With Purpose, my savings are for the purpose of ensuring my children’s education. I want them to have a better life in the future.

“I want to pass on to my children the value of work. I want them to learn to work as I have. I finished school, but I could not continue studying because I got married and started having children and working in agriculture in the fields. I want to encourage them to work, to study, to make an effort so that they have a better quality of life in their future.”

It appears that Margarita’s children have already developed a similar work ethic. She tells us: “My children study from eight in the morning to four in the afternoon. At those times, they are in school, but they are also involved in the house and plot work. Our oldest son helps his dad with the cacao. Each one works on homework with their extra time.

“After joining Plant With Purpose, I have been able to contribute more. Before, I did not know how to save, so whenever I got money I often spent it on unnecessary things. Now, I am focused on my savings. Thanks to God, I’ve achieved goals I never thought possible. I have the lot where I will build a house for my children. I keep saving so I can have a base that allows me to achieve my goals. I feel more free to set goals and make plans for the future. I got my husband to save… he didn't want to at first because he didn't believe in saving. I encouraged him and now he is very happy with the benefits and everything he has learned from being in the group.”

Margarita concludes, “The change in my life has been enormous. I used to be a violent person with little discipline, but I have changed. I feel like a different person. I have held several positions in the group's board, and I have performed well. The members of the group are happy with my work and always want me to continue on the board.  I can say that I am a different person after joining Plant With Purpose. I thank God for everything I have achieved. I hope to continue with more faith and with the hope that this Dominican Republic farming community will continue to grow as I have.” 

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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