Conservation and Social Efforts in the Dominican Republic

March 16, 2015


In the summer of 2013, I had the privilege of visiting the Dominican Republic as a part of a program called Global Leadership Adventures. On this trip, I was able to experience a variety of activities from snorkeling and zip lining to conservation efforts like building a bottle school. I also had the opportunity to visit the Mariposa Center for Girls.

Conye Dulce is a small village for which I helped build a bottle school. A bottle school is exactly what it sounds like: a school made of empty plastic bottles. This was part of an ongoing conservation project that the volunteers of Global Leadership Adventures had been working on. Conye Dulce is located near a beach, so in the morning, we would go to the beach and collect any empty plastic bottles that we could find. Then, we would bring those bottles onto the construction site and place the bottles between two sheets of mesh. The packets of mesh would then be placed into a wooden frame, and these bottle-filled frames would serve as the walls of the school. Surprisingly, the bottles served as strong foundations for the walls, and the schools were sturdy and able to withstand the constant heavy rain.

This project was not only a conservation effort because we were recycling trash, but also a social effort to establish more schools in a small village. Looking at the children at Conye Dulce, I realized their need for education and schools. The majority of the people of Conye Dulce has lived in poverty for their whole lives and will continue living in poverty because of their lack of education. More bottle schools are needed to deter their children from following in their parents’ footsteps.

The Mariposa Foundation is an organization that specifically targets girls to help escape poverty. Through education, Mariposa serves as an opportunity for girls to strive for lives outside of poverty and start a new generation free of poverty’s constraints. When I visited their center in the Dominican Republic, I was able to talk to the girls and do simple things like braid each other’s hair and talk about our favorite books. It was eye opening to be able to compare the experience I had with my education to their own experience with the education they received at Mariposa. I would recommend this program to anyone who has the ability to go.



st0316-02-1 Michelle Jang
University High School 11th Grade

One Comment

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