Josefina loves school. She wants to study to become a nurse, but the transportation alone to get to school is insurmountable. They’re scrambling just to make it as is, and their family is about to face some harsh decisions. Josefina has to fight everyday against the common social fabric. Her friends are getting married and having kids and she feels alone in her fight. During this time Josefina meets an older guy. He seems really nice and promises to take care of her if she leaves schools and becomes a housewife. Her grandmother thinks this might be their best option. Her mother suggests dropping out of school so she can come to the capital to work at the garment factory with her. She thinks they can share a room in a house and save up money for nursing school while still sending money home. Josefina’s mom thinks she could go back to school in three years if everything goes perfectly. If no one gets sick, if no one loses their job, if rent prices don’t rise ...
Everything would change if Josefina’s mom was paid a living wage. This life altering decision between being a child bride or dropping out of school would be nonexistent if Josefina’s mother was paid fairly for her labors. She could afford to live in the same city as her children, she could afford to send her daughter to school. She could provide a life to her children if only the global economy deemed it necessary to demand workers be fairly compensated no matter their geographical location.
10 facts about the Dominican Republic we want to change:
- Estimates say only 40 percent of children finish primary school in the Dominican Republic, with literacy rates around 85%.
- Despite gains in GDP, people living below the poverty line increased from 32 percent in 2000 to 40 percent in 2011. The richest 10 percent of the population benefit from 40 percent of the national income.
- The Dominican Republic is home to an estimated 900,000 to 1.2 million undocumented migrants, primarily refugees from Haiti who are only able to obtain unregulated/under the table work.
- Self-employed street vendors, domestic workers, agricultural day laborers and construction workers comprise the informal economy and typically make extremely low wages in unsafe working conditions and little to no regulation.
- The Dominican unemployment rate hovers around 14% with many of those officially employed making far below a living wage.
- Employers typically do not offer health care, and instead rely on the poorly funded (roughly 1% of GDP) government health care. The poorest people in the Dominican Republic usually pay around 50% out of pocket for medical care and supplies.
- In the Dominican Republic, one out of every ten children is obliged to work, typically in the mostly unregulated agricultural sector.
- According to UNICEF 10% of girls are compelled into marriage before they are 15 years old, and nearly 40% before they are 18. Poverty and lack of education drive one of the worst child marriage rates in the world.
- 75% of women with only a primary education married before 18, compared to 28% of women with a secondary education.
- The Dominican Republic ranks sixth among countries with the highest rates of femicide, or murder of women. Most of these crimes are never reported, according to official figures, and the group at greatest risk are women ages 15-24. #niunamenos