Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic
Timmy and Banelino have teamed up to adopt 16 underserved communities in the Dominican Republic,
many of which have little to no access to healthcare.
Banelino, Timmy Global Health’s newest international partner, is a fair-trade banana cooperative located near the Northwestern corner of the Dominican Republic, just along the Haitian border. Banelino was founded in 1996 when smaller banana producers in Monte Cristi and Valverde decided to join forces. Their objective has always been to create an organization capable of guaranteeing year-round banana sales at a fair price while also allowing employees and their families to live dignified lives. Today Banelino employs nearly 400 small growers who manage plots of land for banana exportation. Beyond the production and sale of bananas, Banelino designates a portion of their annual profit to fund social programs for the communities where their employees live. Some of these programs include regular primary care consultations by a traveling physician, access to affordable pharmaceuticals and health education, and housing infrastructure projects.
The Communities We Serve
Banelino’s holistic and innovative approach has improved living conditions and access to healthcare for hundreds of community members in the region. These traditional communities – known in the Dominican Republic as bateys – are some of the most traditionally impoverished areas in country. In the bateys of Monte Cristi, both low-income Dominicans and Haitian migrants -many of whom have crossed the border in search of employment – make a living working in the banana fields.
Timmy and Banelino have teamed up to adopt 16 of these underserved communities, many of which have little to no access to healthcare. Electricity and running water are sparse resources in these rural communities, making it difficult to sustain a functioning clinic. Additionally, the unpaved roads connecting the bateys to the larger community of Monte Cristi are susceptible to erosion and flooding, making transportation to and from these communities extremely difficult on a motorcycle – the most common and affordable form of transportation. As a result, these communities are extremely isolated and heavily reliant on the portable medical services that Banelino provides.
Outreach, Projects, and Solutions
Timmy currently sends five medical service teams to support the local health outreach of Banelino through short-term clinics. These medical teams, along with our incredible network of student volunteers and partners throughout the U.S., are working to expand the capacity of Banelino’s outreach, enhancing the size and scope of Banelino’s primary healthcare service provision and investing in essential public health programs designed to improve overall health outcomes in Monte Cristi’s agricultural communities.
In addition to the short-term clinics, Banelino and Timmy Global Health have initiated ongoing public health programs for educational campaigns addressing local health concerns such as nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, and cervical cancer. Timmy Global Health has also increased access to specialized medical care by recruiting dentists, optometrists, gynecologists, and other specialists to treat patients who previously had access to only primary care. These programs are supported by a fantastic team of on the ground staff and partners, including and a Dominican physician with years of experience, dedicated to expanding access to healthcare for vulnerable populations. Our work could not be done however without the support of our student chapters who are responsible for fundraising for all aspects of our program, on the ground support during medical clinics, and the development of health-related educational campaigns.