COPA has provided a school in La Hoya since 1992 and in Bombita since 1996. Education Advisers (qualified teachers usually from the UK or USA) are recruited to work alongside the local teachers and headteachers to maintain the quality of education and provide support and suggestions regarding teaching methods and resources. During 2007, teachers from the COPA schools have begun forming partnerships with other local schools with the aim of extending the assistance COPA gives to other communities.
In La Hoya and Bombita children attend school for four hours per day (either in the morning or afternoon). Children begin their schooling in the Pre-School and complete their education in Grade 8. The school day starts with an assembly and raising the Dominican flag. The children are regularly encouraged to give a short talk, say a prayer or sing a song during the assemblies. The schools follow the Dominican curriculum and the classrooms are colourfully decorated with murals and posters. COPA is able to buy resources and materials with the donations from COPA supporters and sponsors.
After completing their education at the COPA schools, students have the opportunity to attend the local state secondary school or a Catholic High School in Barahona. The trade room project in Bombita also provides a number of students with the opportunity to learn a trade as an alternative to further education. A number of former COPA students have now attended University.
COPA supports a youth work project in each community, which provides a place for young people after school.
Once COPA started working in La Hoya, it became apparent that there were health issues in the community and the local government did not have the resources to provide facilities. A health clinic was constructed at the same time as the school in Bombita and a clinic was added to the campus in La Hoya. The local government then provided Dominican doctors and nurses, who now work in the busy clinics. COPA recruits a Health Adviser, who is able to provide support and training to the Dominican health care professionals.
Recently, a focus on health education in the schools and within community groups has helped to raise awareness of personal hygiene, the need to drink clean water and identify and treat common illnesses and diseases.
The values of the organisation are firmly rooted in the Christian faith and our aim is to share God's love and care for others. The activities that take place at the schools provide opportunities for everyone involved to understand more about God and come to know God for themselves.
A brief history of COPA
In 1991 Doreen and Sebert Lane, who were retired, paid a short visit to the Province of Barahona in the Dominican Republic.
Barahona is in the S.W. of the Republic and far from the tourist areas, which are found mainly about 200 miles away in the North of the island.
No benefits of tourism had trickled down to this part of the island.
The Community seemed without hope.
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