EAB coordinates an annual exchange between the scholarship students of our two partner communities of Batey Libertad and Franco Bidó. Each student group, with the help of other residents, takes a turn hosting in its home community, opening up their homes and acting as guides. It is thus an opportunity for these young adults to learn first-hand about a sphere of Dominican society that, though not far geographically, is very distinct from their own. (For more background on Batey Libertad and Franco Bidó, view our Where We Work and News from Our Communities pages.) It also presents an opportunity for gathered students to reflect together on their lives at home and school.
Most importantly, such exchanges allow our students to be at the forefront of our continual effort to forge bonds of relationship that break down the barriers of discrimination and marginalization that so often mar Dominican reality. Our scholarship program is shared between students who are children of rural coffee farmers, and those born to agricultural laborers of Haitian descent, populations that are unlikely to find much common ground otherwise. Yet through this joint project and such exchanges, they can reverse the ugly patterns of suspicion and hostility. It is one more way that we provide for an “education across borders.”
Watch this slideshow for a glimpse of a recent student exchange.