What We Do
The cycle of extreme poverty is not inescapable, but those in its clutches need our help to overcome their insufferable circumstances. Since 1992, Bridges to Community has succeeded in helping families and communities in impoverished areas of the Dominican Republic (DR) and Nicaragua build a better life for themselves and a brighter future for their children.
In partnership with residents and local leaders, we develop a comprehensive five-year plan in each community, focusing on housing, health, education and overall economic development. More than 700 volunteers travel with us each year, and programming is managed by in-country professional local staff. Learn more about each of our program areas below.
A home built by Bridges to Community is much more than four walls and a roof. It’s the difference between safety and vulnerability, health and illness, dignity and despair. It is the foundation on which everything else is built.
Education is an essential ingredient of any plan to overcome systemic poverty. We are committed to seeing young people grow toward their potential rather than fall victim to the epidemics of child labor and teen pregnancy that plague the rural regions of the DR and Nicaragua.
Bridges’ Health Program takes preventive care and health infrastructure to the people living in isolated rural communities. Our projects range from workshops to the construction of health facilities and potable water systems. Our hygienic latrines and high-efficiency indoor stoves improve sanitation and reduce chronic illnesses. Our volunteers provide medical and dental care, with the goal of ensuring the health and well-being of all ages and providing sustainable management of water and sanitation to the in need.
Bridges supports economic development by setting up community-managed funds that provide interest free loans to community members for small businesses, agricultural inputs, and more. Bridges conducts diagnostic studies with communities to better understand their economic potential, and facilitate workshops and trainings for entrepreneurs, and community leaders to ensure successful business endeavors.
In Nicaragua, for every 10,000 inhabitants there are 12 hospital beds, 9 doctors, 8 nurses and 7 nursing assistants. Although the national healthcare system is set to provide a network of services, most health posts, centers and hospitals are underfunded and understaffed for the high demand of medical treatment. Access to healthcare is also very limited depending on location within Nicaragua with access extremely limited in the rural areas. Because of these factors, the national healthcare system depends on community health leaders, midwives, health brigadistas and international medical brigades to assist in attending to the health needs of the Nicaraguan population.