Ramón Santana is nicknamed Guasa (pronounced Wa-sah) from the Guasabara trees which grow along the road leading to the village.
The municipality is diverse and the village is at its centre surrounded by different rural communities, many of them bateys, where residents live in return for working in the sugar cane fields. Supporting Guasa carries out the majority of its work in these communities.
Those living in rural communities are often at a significant disadvantage. Work in agriculture, and especially sugar cane work in the bateys is very poorly paid and many of these communities are without functional running water and electricity. Furthermore, these communities are often home to Haitian migrants and families of Haitian origin who often face discrimination and arbitrary legal challenges to their residency; even Dominicans of Haitian descent who were born in the Dominican Republic face the threat of deportation and limited access to education due to challenges with documentation. Furthermore, the poor infrastructure of roads and, indeed living quarters, and limited access to effective public transport mean that simple tasks and transport are much harder than for those living in a town, and for many students reaching the secondary school, in the main village, presents much more of a challenge.
Capital: Santo Domingo
Official language: Spanish
Population: 10 090 000
Currency: Dominican peso
The relationship between poverty and education is stark in the Dominican Republic. Just to give an example, in 2010 37% of those who were brought up in a home classified as belonging to a “very low” socio-economic group had never attended school, compared to 2% of those belonging to a “medium-high” or “high” socio-economic group. For those of a high or medium socio-economic status, 25% have secondary level education and 43% have a university education. However, these numbers are very different for those at the other end of the scale: 11% have secondary education and just 1% have a university degree.
These are some pictures our volunteers have taken over the years of different areas of Guasa and in several of the different batey communities (or the roads leading to them).
All statistics on our website, unless stated otherwise, come from the Dominican National Statistics Office (ONE) and are the most recent we have come across. The vast majority of them come from the most recent published census, from 2010.
The Dominican Republic is a developing country and is constantly evolving. Furthermore, other aspects such as difficulties with and methods of data collection as well as the relatively high levels of inwards migration mean that, as with all statistics, we would ask you to use these data as an indicator only to help you understand Guasa. Statistics are extremely useful but they can’t always tell you about people. And it’s the people of Guasa we work for.