United Church of Christ

Growing Strong in the Face of Challenge

LAC_boy9.7.18.jpgVictor Masdrico is a 17-year-old teenager of Haitian nationality and a beneficiary of the Caminante program. He is one of 7 sons of Mrs. Derina Aporo. 

At the age of 4, Victor moved with his family to live in the Dominican Republic in search of a better quality of life. In 2010, the house where his family lived was burned. They could only save their lives. In there quest for a new home, they moved to the municipality of Boca Chica.

When Victor was just 9 years old, he began his job as a shoeshine boy on Boca Chica beach, a vulnerable area where children are exposed to the risk of abuse and commercial sexual exploitation. One morning a Caminante educator contacted him and invited him to participate in a baseball game. This activity served as a link to introduce Victor to other programs he could take part in. "I remember that at that time I spent all day on the beach working to help my family. I did not attend school, since they did not accept me because I did not have identification documents,"  Victor reported. This is a reality that occurs in the Dominican Republic despite the fact that laws and international agreements express that education should not be denied to children and adolescents.

Since then Victor has worked within various programs that ensured the protection of his rights. Caminante managed to insert this kind of help into the formal education system. Victor stopped working on the beach to attend school and in alternate hours participate in the Walker programs. He has been supported with medical follow-up, as well. "I feel very grateful for the support that Caminante has given me. My goal is to finish my studies and become a professional, putting into practice everything I have learned in Caminante. In the future I would like to be able to help vulnerable children so that their rights are guaranteed."

At present, Caminante coordinates the local protection system. Law 136-03 defines the System for the Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents as the set of institutions, agencies and entities, both governmental and non-governmental, that formulate, coordinate, integrate, supervise, execute and evaluate policies public, programs and actions at the national, regional and municipal levels for the comprehensive protection of the rights of Children and Adolescents.

Your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing support Caminante. This story was submitted for sharing as a part of their reporting. 


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