After the privatization by the Dominican State of most of its sugar mills in the 1990s, over 1M people (mostly Haitian migrant cane cutters and their Dominican offspring) living in deep rural “batey” communities were left abandoned and with no clear future. BRA responded to the critical situation by approaching the President of the Republic (Hipólito Mejía), the Director of the State Sugar Council (Victor Manuel Baez) and the Minister of Public Health (Dr. Juan Octavio Ceballos) and present them our plan to install modern medical facilities within these highly impoverished and vulnerable enclaves. All three responded positively, which later led to the significant investment by BRA of more than $120M in social development programs within the bateyes from 1997-2017.
The logo of the Batey Relief Alliance (BRA) uniquely embodies several levels of meaning – four human-like beings representing: 1) the international community, 2) partners, 3) local governments, and 4) beneficiary populations holding hands that suggest cooperation, mutual respect and understanding, sharing and the reinforcement of individual efforts when joined together.
At the same time, the word batey, meaning in Taino Indian, the Community, creates the strongest spiritual value that a Community is everywhere, and that all of its members, regardless of race, gender, creed, religion, national origin or political affiliation, must endeavor to secure its stability, survival and future only by working together in harmony. Finally, the logo’s totality endows a joyful gesture that expresses accomplishment, liberation and spiritual uplift.Read more
In 1997, Batey Relief Alliance launched its humanitarian efforts in the Dominican Republic to help address the questionable living conditions of impoverished populations within highly vulnerable sugarcane plantations rural “batey” communities. In response to the humanitarian crisis plaguing the populations, the organization collaborated with the Dominican State and the international community to install the first modern health center complex ever within a batey – Batey Cinco Casas, Municipal District Don Juan, Monte Plata province, since the start of sugar production in the country in year 1517.
On January 7, 2010, BRA signed a collaborative agreement with Haiti’s Ministry of Health to deliver health services to vulnerable communities throughout the country. Some of the programs BRA supports in Haiti, mostly in Southeast border regions, include nutrition, primary care, clean water, preventive health education, disaster relief and women’s economic empowerment.
Since its foundation in 1997, Batey Relief Alliance dedicated part of its effort to educate the general public about its humanitarian endeavors and global issues of interests. In partnerships with universities and aid groups, BRA hosts annual international conferences and workshops at the United Nations in New York and in Santo Domingo, gathering top speakers from across sectors to address topics ranging from health and HIV, poverty, malnutrition, clean water, gender equality, etc.
BRA partners with the Peruvian government, Caritas-Lima and the international community to execute preventive health programs involving maternal child health, clean water and preventive health education within the country’s urban communities.
“We invite you to join the BRA Alliance so we can continue searching for better ways to improve the lives of those who are unable to achieve much — although willing and able — because of social barriers. It is a human investment that will in the end benefit us all.”