“I never knew how much my daughter was capable of, now I can dream for her!” The teary-eyed mother looked hopeful and grateful as Back2Back D.R. staff shared about her daughter’s progress.
An 18-year old, Haitian girl named Amelia* and her mother came to the Dominican Republic many years ago. From a vulnerable background and never receiving an official learning disability diagnosis, Amelia struggles with language and expressing herself.
Before joining a local, partnering community center, Amelia never attended school. Her mom knew her delays and believed keeping her home was what was best for her, as special education is not offered in public schools.
Amelia recently started at Jubileo, a community center school in the D.R., where a remedial education program exists to come alongside children who’ve fallen between the educational cracks. Their goal is to help each child get to a safe place in their education that allows them to return to public school.
Leah Martinez, Back2Back staff, worked with Amelia everyday in her first semester of school. Together, they started working on learning Spanish, as it is the native tongue in the D.R., and Amelia arrived knowing only broken Creole.
After several weeks of meeting daily, Leah and Amelia now meet twice a week for tutoring. In just one semester, Amelia went from having no Spanish vocabulary to knowing her colors and numbers, holding small conversations in Spanish, and she can write her name now!
While these milestones may sound small, they are large drops in Amelia’s bucket of belief in her own capabilities. Recently, Amelia’s mom came to the community center to pick her up and shared with the staff, “Never in my life did I think my daughter would be able to learn this much, because no one ever offered to help. Now, we both know she can, and together we can dream more for her.”
Together, mother and daughter are loosening their grasps on a lie they both believed and welcoming in possibility for the first time. The work Ameila has and will accomplish with the help of holistic care has allowed her mother to see her through new eyes, and she is ecstatic about what she’s seeing.