On January 7th I spent the day working at El Guaco School in el Cedro, a small and remote village in the north east of the Dominican Republic.
El Guaco is the tenth school that we have helped rebuild through the Fundación Tropicalia. Three years ago, as we began the planning work for Tropicalia, a low density, high end, sustainable resort that my family is developing in the area, we realized that there was a lot of work to be done with the community if we wanted it to become an integral part of the project.
In keeping with my family’s longstanding commitment towards improving access to education, we decided to start by developing a program that helps the community get organized to “rescue” their failing schools and ensure their maintenance going forward. Our program gives each school the tools so they can do the work themselves.
We have worked with allies such as Engineers without Borders, Odebrecht, and the Peace Corps, and have had the pleasure to partner with organizations such as the Dominican Ministry of Education and Ministry of Telecommunications, as well as Jardines del Caribe to teach them how to build latrines, install water tanks, build basketball courts, create organic vegetable gardens, install fencing, connect to the electrical grid, get connectivity and install computer centers.
Once the schools are in good shape we start working with the teachers and students through various programs that we have developed such as AME, Cl@se and Piensa en arte/Think Art to improve how teachers are teaching and how children are learning.
Giving back is a big part of who I am and how I like to do business. Starting the year by rehabilitating a school so that 50 kids can learn in a welcoming environment was a great way to get started in 2012. If you want to learn more about the work of Fundación Tropicalia click on the links below:
The day after our work at El Guaco it was particularly rewarding to learn that Tropicalia has earned a coveted spot on the NY Times “45 Best Places to Visit in 2012”. (See #35) It is so exciting to think that the children we have helped at El Guaco will be a part of the growing Tropicalia community. I have attached the link for your reading enjoyment.