Top 10 Reasons to Volunteer in the Dominican Republic

by Narelle Webber on Friday, 2 December 2011

The Dominican Republic is an amazing country full of contradictions. Travel here and you will experience breathtaking beaches, dense tropical jungles, and a festive spirit unlike any nation in the world. Yet at the same time, this nation is one of the poorest in the world, and the disparity between rich (fueled by a booming tourism industry) and poor (struggling with a lack of education, food and income) grows ever wider.

So, why should you visit the Dominican Republic and volunteer with ISV? Well, here are 10 great reasons…

Volunteering in the Dominican Republic

Hanging out with the kids in the Dominican Republic

1. Change the life of a child 

Most children in the Dominican will never receive an education past the 7th grade, gain a birth certificate, or access everyday public services that you are surrounded by. ISV’s projects aim to educate children through a structured learning environment (supplementing a marginally underfunded half-day public educational system), to give them the tools to rise up above the struggles of poverty. We aim to give children more than shoes and clothing; we want to give them a chance for a better future.

By volunteering abroad with ISV in the Dominican Republic, you have a chance to help improve the futures of these amazing children!

2. Support health and hygiene

As a volunteer, you will make significant contributions to health and hygiene within communities that have so little. Installing concrete floors to limit parasites, building latrines to prevent contamination of water sources, and developing recycling systems to reduce trash are just some of the ways you will assist communities. You will also have the chance to teach children through ISV’s Health, Education, and Language Program (HELP) which addresses issues from HIV/AIDS education, to general hygiene, nutrition, and disease prevention.

3. Learn merengue

Merengue is the national dance of the Dominican Republic and the festive beats can be heard thumping in every bar, house, and car that passes by. The Dominican Republic truly is a nation fueled by rhythm and dance, and Merengue and Bachata (another popular dance) will keep you moving long after the sun sets!

Jumping over waterfall in DR

A life-changing leap in the Dominican Republic

4. 27 life-changing leaps

The most exhilarating rush you will ever have is leaping off the 27 waterfalls on ISV’s canyoning adventure in the lush jungle canyon of Damajagua in the Dominican Republic. Deep in the jungle, this ecological wonder will encourage you to test your determination as you swim, climb, and jump through a series of waterfalls. AMAZING!

5. Live with a local family

Gain a unique cultural experience by staying with a local host family during ISV’s Spanish Language and Cultural Immersion Program. Spend 20 hours learning Spanish, take on cultural activities in the afternoon, and spend time in the evening with your wonderful host family who will show you the true Dominican lifestyle!

6. Ride a horse to a waterfall

The heading says it all. Ride a horse through a jungle, across rivers, and along mountain passes to a stunning waterfall near Limon in the Dominican Republic. Beats the heck out of sitting on the couch with your Xbox!

Volunteering in the DR

Volunteers working in the Dominican Republic

7. Build communities and friendships

Sharing an experience like volunteering in the Dominican Republic not only helps you build communities and hope – it enables you to build friendships that last a lifetime. You will fall in love with your host family (during Spanish lessons) and gain new friendships with your fellow volunteers from around the world. Sharing such an extraordinary experience creates a bond and connection that will last for years to come.

8. Go wild in Cabarete

Cabarete Beach is the #1 location in the Caribbean for good ol’ fashioned party times. It’s safe, friendly, and a lot of fun. Windsurfers, kite surfers, surfers, and beach lovers alike from all over the world converge on Cabarete beach to enjoy the range of water sports, restaurants, discothèques, and amazing scenery. Cabarete is like nowhere else on earth – a place where locals and tourists mingle like lifelong friends and sing, swim, dance and play all day long. You’ll spend about 4 days here on tour and use Cabarete as your “home base” for surrounding adventure activities.

ISV in the DR

Classroom in the Dominican Republic

9. Gain new perspective

Seeing how another culture lives is an eye-opening experience at the best of times. But to really experience how Dominicans live will change your life. ISV’s Dominican Program will show you how people who seemingly have so little can make the most of life, and it will truly inspire you to appreciate the privileges you have in your own life.

10. You won’t want to leave

It’s as simple as that. Most people who volunteer with ISV say that their trip was the best experience of their life. Most people who travel with ISV to the Dominican Republic say this program changed their lives forever!

ISV has partnered with over 10 grassroots, NGO’s, and non-profit organizations in the Dominican Republic over the past 10 years. Through these partnerships, ISV has been fortunate to be able to provide underprivileged communities with much needed support, improving the lives of thousands of individuals each year. Moreover, the relationships and rapport that ISV has forged within the communities, based on mutual respect, cultural sensitivity, and human relations, allow our projects to address the most immediate needs of each community – from the ground up. As we move into our eleventh year of sustainable community development through volunteerism, we have learned that every effort counts and we invite you to join our team of advocates in the Dominican Republic.

The DR has the highest mountains in the Caribbean, hundreds of miles of unexplored caves, breathtaking canyons, and beautiful white sand beaches. You’ll go surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, whitewater rafting and even walk the oldest street in the Americas in the footsteps of conquistadors and pirates!

Become an advocate for sustainable community development and apply now!  All volunteers are also encouraged to bring a bag of clothes, toys, and educational materials to donate to the local community. This program will leave you breathless!

Watch this video to get more of an idea of volunteering with ISV in the Dominican Republic!

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