Photos from our 2018 trip:
Meet the 2018 trip team: (From left to right - Matthew, Michelle, Anni, Curtis, Jenny)
Hey there! This is us, SJMF Youth
Imagine a hot, crowded mountain village filled with poverty. Now, imagine it’s residents living in tiny shacks with only basic amenities, with some having no home at all. This is the reality faced by many residents of San José de Ocoa, Dominican Republic - one of the poorest regions of the Caribbean. Now imagine that you have an opportunity to help - to make a difference in the lives of those in need. SJMF Youth (Siempre Juntos Más Fuerte - Spanish for “Together We Are Stronger")
is a registered Canadian charity dedicated to relieving poverty in the Dominican Republic by helping to build houses for the poor. As the high school branch of the charity SJMF (sjmf.ca), we organize trips for high school students each summer to help build these houses. Our first trip was in July of 2015. This upcoming summer, we are having a team of high school students from across the GTA travel to San José de Ocoa to build a house for a family in need. Although we're still in high school, one is never too young to change the world.
Here is our registered Canadian Charity Number: https://apps.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/haip/srch/t3010form22quickview-eng.action?&fpe=2017-12-31&b=819023847RR0001&fbclid=IwAR0-glSp06KAxLHdVS203A1w3IQt7vKG98QK458ar65EkZr64FxtSemk2xc
4 years ago we started this organization with a goal in mind: to improve as best we can a community and change the life of a less fortunate Dominican family a year! So far we have raised over $25,000 and built 4 homes
. We don't believe in building houses for people as if it had magically appeared out of nowhere. No one learns anything and the community is torn because everyone wants something handed to them. Instead, we believe in hard work side-by-side with the community. By getting local workers and families involved in the construction of homes, we are able to bring the community closer, and nurture strong bonds between the Canadian donors and volunteers, and the Dominican Families and workers. We are as our motto says, "two countries, one love"
Some people are worried that we aren't helping enough in terms of numbers, but we shouldn't think like that. It is better to help a smaller number of families if it means giving them a stalwart shelter and refuge, a home to raise their children, an opportunity to put food on the table and not have to worry about the roof or walls crashing down. We want to give a family another chance at life, as opposed to prolonging a suffering. After all, It is better to leave a deep crater in the armour of poverty than it is to have small dents.
Check out our Facebook Page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/SJMFYouth/
This year's trip is fast approaching, but it's not too late to make a donation yet! With your help, we can save families and communities. Any amount is greatly appreciated!
100% of all proceeds will go directly to our cause - no need to worry about any administrative costs. Here are some of the materials needed to build one house:
- 750 cement blocks; $5 for 10 blocks
- 75 bags of cement; $8 per bag
- 45 sheets of tin; $10 each
- 7 windows; $16 each
- 2 shovels; $23 each
- 8 gallons of paint; $27 each
- 2 doors; $30 each
These are just some of the building materials needed to construct a house. Overall, one house will cost around $5200 to build
. All flight, accommodations, and personal expenses on the trip will be paid for by the individuals themselves.
We believe that this opportunity will not only help the Dominicans, and strengthen Dominican-Canadian relations, but it will also help you, the donors, as well. It will show how your money can be used towards a greater good, to help alleviate poverty around the world. Together we are stronger. Together we can make a difference. Together we can change the lives of a local Dominican family forever.
The family of the house that we have built in 2018:
Before and after the house we built in 2018:
So far, we have been featured in the Toronto Metro Newspaper and The Richmond Hill/Thornhill Liberal.
Here are our media appearances: