Children of the Border is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) based in the southern border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. We work along the border region because this is where we are needed the most: impoverish Haitians, refugees, sharecroppers and landless peasants live here in the worst and most inhumane conditions imaginable. We work with children because they are the most vulnerable population and the ones that need the most protection. Although we do as many things as we can with the funding from our donors, most of our work is in:
- Distribution of contraceptives to give mothers a control over their reproduction and the chance to take care of the children they already have.
- Food and emergency nutritional help to children suffering from severe malnutrition.
- Building latrines to help stop the current cholera epidemic that continues to take the lives of many children in the area.
- Providing emergency medical services to pregnant women and children.
Children of the Border was founded in 2005 by Sebastian Velez and Sara Choi, when both were students at Harvard University, and over the years has tremendously gained from the leadership of Annemarie Ryu, who acted as Associate Director for 4 years, and others. Currently the project runs with the help of many volunteers in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the United States, Finland, Spain, Puerto Rico and Panama, and with the funding from hundreds of individual donors from across the world, and the generous support of organizations like the American Humanist Association and the Norwegian Humanist Association.
Although CotB’s mission and purpose is to help the children in the communities we serve, we are a secular, humanist organization that firmly believes in compassion, love, and caring for each other without the need for belief in the supernatural.
Estela Pierre-Maxe, Women’s Health Advocate
Mrs Pierre-Maxe runs most of the daily field operations. Along with other field staff and Haitian and Dominican volunteers, she manages the distribution of free contraceptives. She has been working with Children of the Border since 2005, and together withe her husband live in Pedernales with their children.
Judith Perez, Human Rights and Women’s Health Advocate
Judith and her family have always been a crucial part of Children of the Border. Judith protects the rights of Haitians unfairly detained and assists with the distribution of contraceptives.
Mella Dominguez, Women’s Health Advocate
Mella also assists with the distribution of contraceptives. She lives in Las Mercedes with her husband and two children.
Sebastian Velez – Sebastian Velez is a professor of genetics at Worcester State University. He holds a PhD from Harvard University in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, an M.S. in Genetics from the University of Notre Dame, and a B.S. in Agronomy from the University of Puerto Rico. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
100% of CotB’s expenses are field expenses, as all staff and volunteers outside of Haiti and the Dominican Republic are unpaid volunteers, and most of our work is done in the field by local staff residing in the communities served. Our non-local staff includes Veronica Ledesma, Jaakko Tulkki, and Annemarie Ryu, which split the work of fundraising, maintaining CotB’s web presence, accounting, and reporting to our donors.