A legal identity is something we all live with. We take it for granted - I mean, we're simply given a document with our names printed on it when we're born, and that's that. We use it occasionaly when we work with legal stuff, and again, that's that.
But what if we didn't have this little piece of paper?
Well, we technically wouldn't exist. We wouldn't be able to recieve education beyond a certain point, we wouldn't be able to get jobs, and we ultimately wouldn't be able to sustain ourselves.
This is exactly the case if you're a Haitian born in the Dominican Republic. Due to certain events in the past, Haiti and the DR don't really play well together, and DR-born Haitians grow up being hated. They are not given birth certificates when born, and thus in a legal standpoint, they simply do not exist. They can't receive public education beyond 8th grade, and they can't get jobs. As a result, these people live miserable lives, barely able to sustain themselves by scavenging for food and begging on the sidewalks.
So what's the solution? We provide them with money so that they can go and purchase birth certificates from the government. With birth certificates, now they can go out, get jobs, and essentially start new lives. It's a little piece of paper, but it has the power to change a person's life.
Our funds raised from the month of November will go towards purchasing 5 DR birth certificates (each one costs about $40 USD). We will be working with Megan, a long-term missionary working in the little village of Ascension, DR. Her short-term goal for the next couple months is to gather enough money to purchase 30 birth certificates, and we're doing our best to support her and her awesome cause!
More details will come soon; stay tuned :).
Jack Kim, Benelab