There are over a million refugees from Haiti who live in the
Dominican Republic. Haiti shares the same island with the
Dominican Republic, but the cultures and languages are very
different with one being a Spanish culture, and the other
French. Over 95% of the Haitians were French slaves of African
descent. But when Swamis' devotees go to work, the distincion
barriers fall. In one community of Haitian refugees where
the Sai devotees went to do service of giving food, they found
a single mother with four children living in a cardboard covered
hole. The devotees rallied together and personally built a
home for this family. It took 3 months of working week ends
to make a large one room dwelling, but the love which everyone
experienced was beyond description. Many of the residents
in this community came forward to offer something even though
they themselves have nothing. When people see that someone
is interested in them, they become interested in themselves.
Close by, there was a one room school which didn't function
because there were no teachers, and there was no bathroom.
There was no blackboard, the floor had holes in it and the
roof was falling in. The Sai devotees got together and repaired
and painted the school and built a bathroom. Some mothers
from the community agreed to give classes up to 4th grade
by rotation since the government didn't give any money for
teachers in this school. The devotees take breakfast every
morning to the school so that the children can get proper
nutrition at least once a day. They also stay to give a human
values class. They provide books, paper and pencils for the
students. This is a humble start, but the community is becoming
more self sufficient, and the children more loving. Devotees
are also helping new mothers with gift baskets when they have
a child. This community adoption program is taking on new
dimensions each day.
The children who are born in this community are born at home.
The mothers cannot get to the hospital as it is too far and
too costly to get there by taxi. Thus all the children do
not have birth certificates. This prevents them from enrolling
in public schools, which as a matter of law, require a birth
certificate. Members of the Sai Organization have taken up
the difficult process of changing the authorities’ view
of this problem. It remains to be resolved, but with Swamis
Grace, all these children will someday be able to attend school.