Established in 1961, Caritas Dominican Republic started its actions primarily with the distribution of humanitarian aid donated by the United States government. In the late 1970s, Caritas Dominican Republic underwent a clear process of change regarding its role in society and in the Church and reflected on its task, which led it towards the field of human promotion.
The organisation aims to respond to the fundamental needs of the most vulnerable groups in society, through education, organisation and management of resources in order to implement projects geared towards promotion of the integral development of the person, the family and the community.
The most important areas of operation include: health, infrastructure and housing, water and basic sanitation, production and commercialisation, training and capacity building, institutional capacity building, risk and emergency management, food security.
Caritas Dominican Republic consists of a national office with coordination, supervision, technical support and service functions. Network projects are implemented by two archdiocesan Caritas, nine diocesan Caritas and one Caritas in neighbouring Haiti.
In the Caribbean zone, Caritas Dominican Republic supports and jointly operates with Caritas from the zone. For example, its operations on the border in coordination with the Caritas Haiti. At international level, it works jointly with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) from the United States, and with European Caritas such as Caritas Spain and Caritas Germany, as well as with other organisations: the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Madrid region, Caja Madrid, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UNICEF among others.
At national level, it involves local government authorities and government organisations present in an area of operation, and also coordinates with government ministries in order to comply with current policies and regulations in the various sectors in which it is engaged. In emergency situations, its strategy is to complement – and never to replace – the role of government organisations.
Overcrowding inside prison facilities has been a big push factor for the spread of the coronavirus. The lives of prisoners were already very difficult due to lack of food, poor infrastructure, healthcare and basic services.