CRS History in Dominican Republic
Catholic Relief Services initiated programs in the Dominican Republic in 1961 at the invitation of the Dominican Catholic Episcopal Conference. Since then, CRS has implemented a wide array of programs in the areas of community development, health, emergency assistance and peacebuilding—all designed to build the foundations needed to improve the lives of poor Dominicans and help them withstand future hardships.
In recent years, as the population of Haitian migrants has continued to grow, CRS has used an integrated approach to dealing with this complex issue. CRS recognizes that it is often the migrant population and Dominicans of Haitian descent who lack access to basic education and health services and are the poorest and most vulnerable to human rights abuses.
Declining social and economic conditions, rising violence, an increasing prevalence of HIV and AIDS, and persistent hurricanes and other disasters have in recent years prompted CRS’ engagement in Guyana, Jamaica, the Antilles and the eastern Caribbean. Today, CRS Dominican Republic serves Jamaica, the Antilles and the eastern Caribbean on an outreach basis. Our work in Guyana has grown markedly, spurred in part by AIDSRelief programming, which supports the delivery of HIV care and treatment to poor and underserved people in the country, where we now have an office and dedicated staff of six.