This post is also available in: Spanish
Living in such beautiful surroundings here in Casa de Campo, it may be easy to forget the harsh reality of life for the thousands of people living in poverty here in the Dominican Republic. Fortunately that is not the case; Casa de Campo is full of generous villa owners who give their time and money to help these people, through a number of charities, founded, supported and run by members of our community. Amongst these charities is the Fundacion MIR, who’s mission is to support educational, social and health services for indigent children and their families in the province of La Romana in southeastern Dominican Republic – no small undertaking!
In my mission to discover more about the Fundacion MIR, I was invited to visit the Clinica de Familia MIR, the Fundacion MIR’s free family AIDS clinic, a truly inspiring place, where the doctors and nurses work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for the thousands of children and their families affected by AIDS and HIV.
My initial impression was of a large, clean, well-run clinic, full with patients being treated and cared for by friendly doctors and nurses. On first inspection -nothing out of the ordinary, however the reality is that the work being done at the Clinica de Familia MIR can only be described as extraordinary! As I walked around meeting patients, doctors and nurses I became more and more impressed and humbled by the fantastic work being achieved everyday at the clinic.
I met with Dr. F. Juan Carlos Carazas, who was kind enough to explain to me all about the clinic; what they have achieved, what they hope to do in the future, the people they help and support, the list is endless! A fact that I found particularly interesting is that many of the facilities employees; nurses, secretaries etc are ex-sex workers and/or patients themselves, who have been effectively ‘resuced’ by the Fundacion MIR and are now working with the Clinica de Familia MIR to help people just like themselves – truly inspiring!
There is so much that could be said about this fantastic clinic and charity, but one thing that stands out more to me than anything else is their programme which treats pregnant women with HIV. This programme is called ‘prevention of mother-to-child transmission’ and has reduced the mother-to-baby transmission rate from over 40% to less than 3%, which is not only a huge success on a national level, it also ranks the programme amongst the best in the world! In fact, in the last 5 years not a single baby has been born with HIV from an infected mother – just think of all those babies who now have the opportunity to live a long and normal life!
All the people who work at the Clinica de Familia MIR work together for a common purpose; to improve the future of every child, after all the children of today are the future.
This is just the first of a series of article I will be writing on the Fundacion MIR, to come are articles on their other projects; MIR Esperanza (the boys vocational school), and the Escuela Tecnica Vocacional Fundacion MIR (the girls vocational school). In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about the Fundacion MIR, make a donation or visit of its many projects, their contact details are below:
Tel: Casa de Campo 809-523-8270 or
West Palm Beach (561-366-5095)
Remember: Donations are tax deductible for US Citizens!