Emmy is a compassionate 13-year-old girl who does well in school and loves to help tutor her new classmates at Hogar del Niño, a local school for children with different abilities in La Romana, a city in Dominican Republic with a dry, arid climate unlike most of the island. When Emmy was five years old, her school teachers noticed she was having trouble communicating and would not respond when spoken to. The teachers scheduled a meeting with her parents and it was determined that Emmy was hard of hearing and speaking impaired.
Emmy then began attending Hogar del Niño and has been attending ever since. The school is operated by Patronato Benéfico Oriental, a non-profit working to provide improved access to social services for communities in the Dominican Republic. At the school, Emmy was taught sign language.
Arileida has been Emmy’s teacher since she was five years old, and she noticed Emmy was lethargic. Emmy was then sent to the school doctor. The doctor determined she was anemic and suggested she start receiving Rise Against Hunger meals, distributed by partner CitiHope, at school. Arileida has noticed that Emmy now has more energy and has improved in class. Arileida has observed the other students who receive the Rise Against Hunger meals also remain strong and healthy.
Xiomara, the president of Patronato Benéfico Oriental, says balanced nutrition for the students is very important. Hogar del Niño is the only school of its kind in Dominican Republic and over 80% of their 1,000+ students come from at-risk communities. Xiomara said, “We understand that every child deserves to grow in a safe environment, a place where they can count on having all their basic needs provided.”
Arileida is proud of how Emmy has grown and improved. She says, “I think she can achieve everything she sets out to do… She is a very creative and ambitious girl who dreams of going to university in the future.”
For now, Emmy loves attending Hogar del Niño and plans to continue learning. “I am learning many important things and my experience here is always great,” Emmy shared. “I want to continue learning a lot. In the library, I read and learn important things. I like to learn.”
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