Amigitos is a non-profit organization that conducts humanitarian work aimed at people living under difficult living conditions in the Pancho Mateo slum area of the Dominican Republic. Amigitos’s purpose is to strengthen the citizens of Pancho Mateo’s rights and meet their basic needs.
Amigitos’s story starts with a lovely girl with a terrible disease, another girl who was kept as a child slave and a school that was not run for the good of the poor. It starts with the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and the misery that came with it.
But the story also starts with a fervent desire to create hope, security and a future, and to be able to run a project where all the funds came to the benefit of those in need. Siv Mika Engebretsen had already worked with aid and emergency services at Hispaniola for many years and started the job with what has now become the organization Amigitos Små Venner (Amigitos Small Friends).
Louigina, the girl pictured with the difficult disease, sadly died after we and the doctors had done everything we could. Her life was not to be saved, and the orphaned, beautiful human being left us only 9 years old. The story of the girl who was a child slave (Restavek) is thankfully brighter, she has got a better life and is looking forward to the future.
For Siv Mika, there are many memories and unresolved cases, many small faces that were not saved. They follow her and all of us in Amigitos as sore memories, the moments when they were sent back to Haiti while we were left powerless once again. Hearing the pleas of help from small children’s voices, without being able to help, is the nightmare of reality.
At the same time, Amigitos has become larger than some of the founders dared dream of. After first securing a good operation of the small primary school inside the village, we built a larger community center with the support of our good friends. The center is more than a building, where it accommodates care, love, education and play. It’s a place where a lot of people in the slum area get basic needs and a safe base in their lives, a base they need to be able to fend for themselves.
The spring of 2019 represents another major milestone for Amigitos. Thanks to BuildAid Norway, we have another building, a 1,000 sqm building, that allows us to help even more – even better. Today, Amigitos runs development work, emergency aid, relief work and emergency services, and has many good volunteers, visitors and supporters. It is fantastic to see that the development is progressing a lot from year to year, and to know that this is only possible by making a difference together. Each person who contributes plays a crucial role in our work and in the lives of those we work with and for.
The start of Amigitos was tough, and they are still having tough times. It’s tough to have to say no, to not have the opportunity to help everyone, especially when the need is so great. But Amigitos is helping more and more people and we are motivated every day by seeing the change throughout the community and by those of you who are cheering us on and supporting our work. We cannot predict the future, but what we can predict is that we will do our utmost to deliver on our hopes and expectations.
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