Shortly before the multitude of events and activities for the annual Hogar del Niño weekend event began on Friday the 17th of February, the Hogar del Niño hosted a tour of their daycare and educational facility in La Romana, giving members of the Casa de Campo community the opportunity to experience and enjoy the smiles and happiness of the more than 1500 children the Hogar del Niño cares for every day.
As Casa de Campo Living were sadly unable to personally attend the tour, here we bring you the accounts of 2 people who did attend – Ryan Tilley a volunteer at the Hogar del Niño and Tania Evans, a Casa de Campo villa owner and first time visitor to the facility.
A tour of the Hogar del Niño by Ryan Tilley
Early Friday morning Casa de Campo residents made their way into La Romana town for a visit to the Hogar del Niño — some had been through before, some were newcomers to the facility.
Accompanied by some of the upper school’s best English speaking students—a few fourth year bachilleres– we leisurely made our way around the Hogar de Niño, our tour competing with celebrations of Dia de Estudiante as well as the construction of the Sports and Cultural Pavilion, a project that has just gotten underway [click here to read more about this project!]. Although the group was small, the size allowed us to pass the time at a slow pace, and we spent nearly two hours visiting many of the services offered here— the infant room, the deaf-mute school, the computer lab, the library, the primary school, and the informal education building.
The visitors were welcomed with real enthusiasm!
The tour-goers seemed content to just take it all in, observing the children and asking many questions about what the Hogar is, where the children come from, and what happens here on a normal day. Myself and the other guides fielded questions while we watched the students playing stick ball outside the Zona Verde–the extracurricular and informal education building where students participate in many different programs from art and theater to English and music– and the centerpiece of this year’s fundraiser weekend [click here for photos and an overview of this event]. We also stopped in to hear students perform a few songs with my fellow volunteer Dan Hogan, which is always a treat and consistently coaxes a smile.
As we told Friday’s visitors, the Hogar del Niño’s doors are always open for anyone who would like to tour the facility, or come to visit or even volunteer. The mood here is always so welcoming, warm and friendly, and this atmosphere is what has made the experience of being a long-term volunteer so rewarding. The Hogar del Niño happily welcomes anyone who wants to come learn more about what goes on at the facility, who would like to come volunteer teaching English classes or arts and crafts, or simply stop in for a round of hugs.
Feel-free to email [email protected] if you want to visit or volunteer!
“Enlightening” – by Tania Evans
“This trip was so enlightening. A school where children are cared for during the day and fed and most importantly are learning tools to better their own lives. A well done program. A happy place.” —- Tania Evans, Casa de Campo villa owners and first time visitor to the Hogar del Niño.
Diana Figueroa, Claire Castelnuovo and Tania Evans
Tania Evans is an equine specialist and a Casa de Campo villa owner, who was one of the ladies who took part in the tour, here are a selection of photos she took on her visit to the Hogar del Niño in La Romana:
Many thanks to both Ryan and Tania for contributing to this article and really bringing the happiness of the Hogar del Niño alive!
The Hogar del Niño
The Hogar del Niño is a children’s daycare and educational center for over 1500 children, located in La Romana town, just outside of Casa de Campo. Children from as young as just a few weeks old up to 18 years old are cared for and educated daily, from as early as 5:30am and staying as late as 7pm.
The organization also provides special schooling to over 75 hearing impaired and blind children, as well as a vocational school where over 235 students receive classes in different areas like: sewing; industrial preparation, installation and electrical maintenance; plumbing and management of computer office programs.