It was in the spring of 2015 that our family decided to begin shipping our outgrown clothing, shoes, and toys to family members in Dominican Republic. They traveled into the rural villages to distribute the provisions, and when I received the pictures, I fell in love. We began to collect more daily essentials to grow and help more in the coming year.
In January of 2016, upon our return from Dominican Republic, we began our work to provide more than ever before and have the ability to help more children & families in need.
Donations from our local community, and the families within, began pouring in the door. The creation of a foundation to help people in need within Dominican Republic began.
On October 3, 2016, Debajo De Las Palmas- Under The Palms In Dominican Republic Inc. was certified to operate as a non-profit organization.
In December of 2016, we packed and shipped 28 boxes, 6 square feet apiece, to Dominican Republic, where they awaited our arrival. Our family distributed the provisions into the rural villages surrounding the capital, orphanages, and the largest children’s hospital in the country.
In December of 2016 & January of 2017, we were able to provide for over 600 people, including 513 children. Our clothing bundles provide enough clothing for one week.
Our work continued to grow in 2017 and we returned to Dominican Republic with 28 more boxes in December. We were able to provide infant cradles and bathing tubs, breastfeeding supplies linens and bedding, infant and toddler formulas, daily essentials, educational materials and much more to our children & families in need. UPDR was able to help more children than ever before and bring breastfeeding education to more families than in years past.
In January 2018, our work continued to reach more families. Starting in 2018, we also began to provide nutrient dense foods for local village families as part of our aid. We provided 1 weeks supply of food for 15 families, some families having up to 12 children.
In 2018, we were also able to provided more school and educational supplies than ever before as part of our mission.
UPDR checked in to one of the local villages we have been providing with aid on April 22, and were very pleased with the children's health and happiness! They are looking forward to seeing us again soon!!
Where We've Been.
Debajo De Las Palmas was established officially as a non profit organization in 2016, and has helped over 1,500 children and their families look to a brighter future. The locations marked on the map are locations we have already visited and helped, many more will be added in the future.
Locations We Have Visited
(Click on the location markers to see more information about
our impact there.)
Where We Are Going.
"Our goal is to not only reach many, many more families in need, but to one day be able to establish a center in the southern part of Dominican Republic, close to the border of Haiti, that will provide schooling, birth support, lactation services, basic health care, as well as general community support."
– President & Founder Meaghan Guzman
This woman, and mother to 3 children is an incredible example of a mother's determination to provide the best for her children and growing family.
When working in various rural, impoverished villages, we meet many people who are extremely desperate for help. Although this mother is unable to find work and simultaneously care for her children, when we visit her, she is one of the kindest and most gracious women.
We spoke about breastfeeding when we first met. We talked about how often to feed her babies and how to increase her milk supply when needed. She was very appreciative and thankful for the education. Each time we check in with her, we are happy to see her babies and children growing well and healthy.
When continuing to visit her and her village, we are always greeted with her warm smile and gratitude for helping her and her family.
These photos are of her youngest son and his growth from an infant to toddler while continuing to breastfeed.
Sara is one of our biggest success stories. We first met her on January 6th of 2016. She was frail and malnourished, dressed in filthy rags. Sara was blind in one eye and her mother explained that she was born this way. I immediately connected with her and her mother. I have a daughter the same age and felt the immense need to help this beautiful little girl see a brighter future.
We provided her with clothing, shoes, toys, and toddler formula that I purchased from a local pharmacy. I knew I had to help her not only survive, but to become healthier.
When I began to form UPDR, Sara was a constant reminder of why I wanted to be able to help children like her have a better chance at a successful life filled with health, happiness & sustainability.
When we returned in December of 2016, the day we landed, I had to go look for Sara, I needed to make sure she was ok. We passed her on the road side walking with her mother and turned around immediately, but she was gone. The next day we returned to her village and were overjoyed to see how she had grown.
When returning again to check in in April of 2017, she was growing well and healthier than before. We returned in December of 2017 to find Sara thriving and doing very well. She was over joyed to see us and ran to me with a huge smile and hug. We visited her in her village in January of 2018 as well and provided her clothing for this years size and her family with nutrient dense foods.
When checking in in April of 2018, Sara was overcoming an infection in her eye and able to seek proper medical care. She is looking forward to keeping in touch and seeing us soon.