Latin America and Caribbean Featured Program: Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island Hispaniola, neighboring Haiti to the east. Covering 18,792 square miles (48,670 square kilometers), it is about twice the size of New Hampshire. The climate is mostly tropical, with the annual average temperature around 25 C (77 F). January and February are the coolest months of the year, while August is the hottest month.
Official studies highlight that the housing deficit in the Dominican Republic is estimated at 600,000 units. Fifty-five percent of this deficit is poor quality housing, rather than homelessness.
In some areas, houses are made of tejamanil (a mixture of soil and manure), wood or even empty oil drum tins. Many of these houses have dirt floors that pose a health risk, due to the constant dust and the rodents and insects they invite. Often two families live in one house, and it is not uncommon to find grandparents, parents and children living in the same room and sharing beds.
In 1952, Habitat for Humanity’s first 53 houses in the Dominican Republic were built in Los Cocos, in the Barahona province. Since then, Habitat for Humanity has built homes in nine regions of the Dominican Republic: Barahona, Paraíso, Polo, Jaquimeyes, Tamayo, Nagua, San Juan de la Maguana, San Francisco de Macorís and the city of Santo Domingo.
Concrete blocks, cement, iron rods, sand and gravel are used to build Habitat houses in the Dominican Republic. These materials are weather-resistant and able to withstand the annual hurricane threats that run from July to November.
Types of construction for volunteers
Depending on the size of the Global Village trip, the group could be divided into small groups and spread out among multiple construction sites. Volunteers will complete improvements, finish work, repairs and expansions. They may work in all stages of construction, from digging the foundation to painting the houses. Regardless of what stage the house is in when the team arrives, responsibilities will likely include carrying bricks, mixing cement, compacting dirt and moving materials.
There will be designated resting zones with drinkable water and toilets on work sites. The team will be supervised by technical advisors and construction experts who provide construction goals every day.
Santo Domingo, Haina, San Juan de la Maguana and San Cristobal.
All teams arrive to Santo Domingo (SDQ).
Habitat Dominican Republic will determine the best lodging option for your group. Work teams usually stay in hotels, retreat centers or dorm-style accommodations that are basic, safe and clean, with two people per room. Typically, rooms are equipped with a private bathroom, though in some locations only shared bathrooms are available. Volunteers are not required to bring any bedding, but will need to pack a towel.
Transport to and from the airport and daily transportation to and from the work site will be on a private bus.
Food and water
Breakfast: This may be a sandwich, empanada or typical Dominican green plantains, mangú with eggs and ham, fruits, coffee, juice and yogurt.
Lunch: The midday meal is typically served at the construction site. In Dominicana, the typical lunch consists in white rice, red beans, meat, salad and sweet plantains.
Dinner: Typically served in the hotel or at a local restaurant.
Snacks: A light snack is typically provided on the work site. Volunteers are encouraged to bring snacks of their choosing.
Water: Bottled water dispensers will be available at the work site and the hotel. Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own bottles to refill.
Special menus can be provided by request for vegetarians, diabetics and those with celiac disease.
Hosting structure and services
Habitat staff can be contacted by phone or e-mail, and in most cases are able to answer correspondence within 48 hours. HFHI RD staff will accompany the team for at least half of their stay.
Teams also have the opportunity to participate in cultural activities, get in touch with local families and institutions, as well as visit Santo Domingo and the areas surrounding the construction site village.
Day 1: Arrival in Santo Domingo
Day 2: City tour and welcome ceremony; transfer to the project site.
Days 3-7: Work at the site.
Day 8: Transfer to Santo Domingo; free time/cultural activity.
Day 9: Departure.
Starting at US$1,805
See what is included in the standard budget.
Volunteer Engagement specialist
If you have read the FAQs and have further questions before you submit a Global Village trip proposal, please contact the regional Volunteer Engagement Specialist.
Please note: proposals for LAC trips should be submitted no less than six and no more than nine months prior to departure. Due to the LAC area’s hosting capacity and volume, this timeline ensures our team can best support you in the Global Village trip planning process.