For over 25 years, Fundación MIR has provided education, guidance, and love to the children of La Romana. Founded by Lian Fanjul de Azqueta in 1990, the charity is now under the executive direction of Lian’s daughter, Lyanne Azqueta who has grown up with the mentality and experience to continue in her mother’s footsteps. With over three schools in elementary, high school, and vocational studies that educate over 1,800 students, Fundación MIR’s academic standards are on par if not better than many private schools, whose teachers receive continuing education and certification from FIU in Miami. After a successful MIR Sugar 2016 bazaar, Casa de Campo Living reached out to Lyanne to discuss her involvement with MIR and their outlook for the future.
As executive director of Fundación MIR you are tasked with continuing to maintain and expand upon the work your mother began and has shaped so arduously for over 25 years. When did you realize that you wanted to continue your mother’s legacy?
I was raised in a family where helping others was ingrained in all of us from our earliest memories. I have clear recollections as a very young child of my mother and her friends making up food packages to distribute to families in need. Our family also believes in hard work with a mission and a purpose, guided by religious beliefs, and a keen sense of doing our best to make the world better. Mission International Rescue and our charity in the USA, New Hope Charities, were founded on those desires and on the understanding that they would be my life’s work. I always knew.
Looking back at everything the Foundation has accomplished during this time, what do you value as the biggest achievement thus far?
Every day when I visit MIR schools, see the children, witness the incredible growth of our campuses, and speak with our teachers and other staff, I realize that I receive much more than I give. The children’s achievements and the incredible people involved at every level are my daily inspiration. Their dedication and commitment to providing MIR students with the education and tools necessary to succeed in life continue to compel me to reach ever more children and families with the confidence that MIR is making a significant difference in their lives. Students returning to volunteer during their summer vacations from college or successful careers also remind us of the importance of our work. The student’s success is our crowning achievement.
Looking towards the future, what are your goals for the organization moving forward?
Our goals for MIR Charities overall are to continue expanding the number of children we reach as well as adding more programs and facilities on our campuses. Some programs we are planning on instituting either now or in the future are sports including baseball, competitive swimming, and soccer for boys and girls, and adding more arts related programming along with academics and technology. We believe we are competitive with the finest schools anywhere and strive to provide students with diverse experiences and knowledge as children receive in fine schools worldwide.
What do you consider to be the biggest difference in how you manage the day to day operations of Fundación MIR as compared to how your mother used to do so? How do you think that unique style has contributed to the recent success of the organization?
I have been fortunate to benefit from my mother’s extraordinary work ethic and vision. Her energy and commitment to MIR are unquestioned and have given me a strong foundation on which I have built my career. Of course as MIR has grown my role as a manager and supervisor has grown as well. Managing so many programs, staff, and overall well-being of the schools along with the organization itself is a complex job. I rely on the strength of our professional staff in performing their jobs well so that my focus can sometimes shift to the educational aspects of our schools.
How can the Casa de Campo community continue to become engaged in the work that the Fundación MIR does for the nearby community of La Romana?
The Casa de Campo community has been exceptionally supportive of MIR in several ways. We have events throughout the year and many residents not only attend but they also bring their friends and associates in support of the charity. Some have visited the schools and have become donors to various programs on our campuses. We would like to have more of these visits because there is nothing that compares to seeing our work in action to bring more support to the effort. The schools speak for themselves and inspire support for both our events and direct support of programs. I am always happy to personally guide visits to our campuses by members of Casa de Campo.
As a daughter and the mother of a young girl, what do you think is important in order to instill in young children the desire and vocation to serve, that your mother has evidently passed on to you and which we are sure you are already beginning to instill in your daughter?
There is nothing I can imagine that is more fulfilling than a life of service to others. I hope my daughter will always recognize that true job satisfaction must have a component that is larger than the job itself. She has been raised participating in MIR activities and also in our efforts at New Hope Charities in the USA. At three years old she was helping to stuff goodie bags for events and just recently energetically joined in packing food for families in need at her school. I have no doubt that these experiences will lead her to a life well lived and a part in the charities.
Many Casa de Campo community members support the MIR Foundation, but most have not had the opportunity to visit the schools. Can you help illustrate and paint a picture for what one can expect to see and experience when visiting the schools?
We encourage members of Casa de Campo to take time out to visit MIR’s campuses to view for themselves the important work going on right next door in La Romana. They will be able to see over 1800 students in elementary school, boy’s high school, girls high school and vocational schools engaged in the process of learning at facilities that are second to none in the Dominican Republic. We invite any members interested to contact our office to schedule a visit.
Do you have any message or words you would like to relay to our readers of Casa de Campo Living, TODO Casa de Campo and CasaLife?
MIR only exists thanks to the generosity of individuals, families, and corporations committed to making children’s lives better. In a country with so much poverty and limited opportunities, MIR is a shining star and a beacon of light for Dominican children. We invite your readers to join our efforts in one of the many ways described above. Whether they attend one of our special events throughout the year, visit MIR campuses, or join me over coffee to discuss MIR Charities, their participation is welcome and deeply appreciated.
The Fundación MIR
The Fundación MIR is a non-profit organization which works to provide education to the children of the greater La Romana area, who are most in need. They run 3 schools: the Politecnico Fundacion MIR (School for Girls), the Politecnico MIR Esperanza (School for Boys), and the MIR Elementary School.
For more information on the Fundación MIR and to make a donation, visit their website: mircharities.org
To make a donation contact the MIR office in Casa de Campo (809-523-8270) or in West Palm Beach (561-366-5095). Donations are tax deductible for US Citizens!