Helping to break the chains of poverty through high-quality Christian education.
In early 2002, Pastor Cristian Rivas found an 11 year old girl hiding in the church after school. After asking some questions, he discovered that she was being sold every afternoon (after school) for the equivalent of $4 US for prostitution. She did not want to go home, and the church was a safe space. Upon further investigation regarding the children in Los Charamicos, Pastor Rivas also observed the children had poor academic performance, below normal intelligence, and had very little support at home. Most parents in this area have very little education themselves with a high percentage unable to read, write, or perform basic math computations.
In September 2002, a center was started as a tutoring program that also provided a safe place for the students to go all afternoon in Los Charamicos, directed by Erika Reynosa Cespedes and some men from the church. Students only paid a very minimal fee that covered the maintenance and cleaning of the building being used.
In 2005, with contributions and direction from education missionary Dr. Brian Hamilton, a full time day school was started with 120 students. In 2011, a satellite was opened in Villa Liberacion - another area barrio. In 2014, another satellite was opened in La Cienaga de Cabarete.
When the pandemic hit in 2019, all schools were closed by the government. This hit the barrios extremely hard because very few students had internet access or even devices to “attend“ school remotely. Schools did not open again until September of 2021, leaving most students in the area 1-2 years behind academically. Due to stricter standards and COVID restrictions, the school opened with fewer students.
Today the main campus serves 110 students with 40 students on each satellite campus. We have a waiting list of families who desire to send their children to the school. A special needs program has been developed and fully funded for a year through donations. This program allows us to meet the needs of every student, where they are academically. Many have speech delays, learning delays and other learning struggles.
Be a model educational center, which promotes quality education at the initial and primary levels, through innovative strategies, whose pedagogical challenges actively respond to the excellence that society demands; forming students with a great sense of criticality and self-confidence, aware of the important of learning as a continuous and permanent activity.
Currently Refugio de Fe serves 110 students in the Los Charamicos barrio. We would love to be able to serve more students living in dire poverty, but we are limited on space. There are plans to add onto our one two-story building, making a third story (as high as the government will allow us). We are praying for the financial support to make this happen. Once this expansion is complete, we will be able serve 50 more students, including adding a full middle school.
We also have 2 satellite campuses in other barrios, each currently serving 40 students. They meet in the local church building. We want to obtain a building in each area that will be fully dedicated to the school.
Finally, Shala is working diligently on administrative side of things so that the school can become accrediated through Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). Currently there are only 5 schools on the island with accreditation, and only one of those serves the poor population. This “stamp of approval” will not only help keep the school accountable for high standards, but will set our students apart globally - opening doors of opportunity they never had in the past.
Click here to sponsor a student or donate towards school expenses.
Chosen Ministry Dominican, Inc is a registered 501(c)3.
This young 1st grade class knew little to no English in October of 2021. Less than 6 months later, their English skills would rival an American preschool class …. with only meeting 30 minutes a week!
Aren’t they precious??!