In the Dominican Republic, the word "batey" (bah - tay) denotes the living quarters or "neighborhood" of resident cane cutters on land belonging to a large sugar company. Batey Caraballo lies among the sugar cane fields of Montellano in the province of Puerto Plata. The town of Caraballo is made up of Dominican, Haitian Dominican and Haitian residents living in varying conditions of poverty on low-lying, overcrowded land that is prone to flooding. The town is isolated geographically from the surrounding communities by extensive cane fields. The physical isolation in combination with cultural barriers have further strengthened the racial conflicts between the Dominican community and Haitian Dominicans in the area. The first step to eliminating these conditions of extreme poverty and racial divide is to bring the community together through its most critical need: quality education for its children.
With the help of The DREAM Project and several other nonprofits, Caraballo has seen remarkable development over the past five years. This has been accomplished through extensive work in education, human services, volunteer projects, and a sustainable system of community participation. We have seen a small, modestly supplied and staffed school transform into a beacon of hope for the people of Caraballo. In a community where many children simply do not attend school, the Montessori Preschool introduces disadvantaged children to quality education and leads them into the public school system.