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In the Dominican Republic, a batey (pronounced “bah-TAY”) is a community made up primarily of families who immigrated from Haiti to work in surrounding sugarcane fields. These underserved communities are often located hours away from the nearest city. As immigrants, many families living in bateyes lack the necessary legal status to receive financial services, education, or medical services.

When Esperanza, HOPE’s microfinance partner in the Dominican Republic, first arrived in Batey Margarita in 2006, Jacobo Benjamin was the first of his neighbors to take out a loan. Previously, Jacobo had worked in the nearby sugarcane fields, cutting and processing the crop. But when the processing company announced it was closing, Jacobo knew he’d need to find a new source of income.

With his loan from Esperanza, Jacobo opened a colmado, or corner store, allowing him to provide for his family and meet a key need for his neighbors.

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Though Ana Cipriano de Sevedia’s education was cut short at the age of 15 because there were no local high schools in her rural Paraguayan community, her love of learning remained. And she’s working hard to create a different outcome for her three sons. “My dream is that they study [at university], that they become someone in life,” she shares. “I work so hard [for this].” Continue Reading…