February 7, 2010
On a rainy day in February, 25 low-income Dominican families work side by side with Habitat for Humanity and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream to improve their homes.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Habitat for Humanity has worked in the Dominican Republic since 1986, with the vision that every person has the right to access adequate housing. The organization hosted a repair and improvement day with 25 Habitat partner families in the community of Macao, Higüey. Many of these families earn barely enough to survive, fighting against a cycle of poverty that contrasts sharply with the country’s thriving tourism industry.
Habitat for Humanity Dominican Republic was joined by the signature ice cream company, Ben & Jerry's, an exclusive ice cream brand in the United States. The company provided more than 130 volunteers, who worked side-by-side with 40 national Habitat partners and community members to help families in Macao to improve their homes. These home improvements can be as simple as a new door with a secure lock, replacing dirt floors with cement or painting new exterior and interior walls—but they make a marked improvement in a family’s quality of life.
The expressions of gratitude were visible throughout, and some participants commented that, even with their financial constraints, their house would be repaired in one day.
Mr. Sean Greenwood, representing Ben & Jerry’s, commented that one of the reasons that motivated the company to partner with Habitat for Humanity was that for the last 20 years it has Ben & Jerry's has provided annual support towards improving the living conditions of communities around the world. He further explained that his company has a particular bond with the Dominican Republic, since much of the chocolate for its ice cream is supplied through “Conacado,” a Fair Trade Dominican cocoa cooperative.