Meet Meri Hirose

May 20, 2013 in Escuela Sordomudos, The Zona Verde, Programs, SordoMudos

After several years, the Patronato Benéfico Oriental has the honor of renewing a relationship with JICA, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.  It was the same organization who in 1993 sent some of the first permanent volunteers to the Hogar del Niño, effectively beginning our Volunteer Program.

Now, JICA has sent volunteer Meri Hirose to work in the School for the Deaf at Hogar, for a period of two years.  Meri is a volunteer specialist in sign language, with extensive study and experience in Deaf culture.

(photo courtesy of

In spite of also being Deaf, Meri reads and writes Japanese, Spanish and English.  She has an extensive work history with foundations across the world: in her native Japan, in the Philippines, the United States—and now the Dominican Republic.  She has travelled to over 40 countries, where she has constantly striven to work with and for Deaf  individuals like herself, to instill in them a sense of pride and show them that this disability does not have to be a barrier to achieving success and realizing your dreams.

The PBO is proud to welcome Meri at the Hogar and is thankful for JICA’s valuable support.

Thank you Meri for being PBO!!

Question & Answer with Meri:

Where are you from in Japan?

I came here from Tokyo!

How long have you worked with JICA?

I have been a volunteer to JICA for 2 years now.

 What countries have you traveled to?

I’ve been to 40 countries. I have not been to Africa and Central Asia or Middle East yet.

 What is your work here at Hogar?

I am teaching deaf children basic independent living skills such as cleanliness, health and things like tying own shoes.  I also teach basic DR sign language.

 What do you hope to accomplish?

I hope to instill Deaf Pride among my students.  I want to see that Deaf children after they finish school that they can lead an independent life.

How long have you been in DR?

4 months.

What do you like most about DR so far?

I love DR dance and the beach. They’re awesome!

 Anything else you want to say or share?

Lets make dreams come true.  Yes, we can do it!

H.O.P.E. Lends a Hand to Hogar’s Bilingual Program

April 22, 2013 in English Programs, Involúcrese, The Zona Verde

Every year, Stonehill College sends students from their  group HOPE to spend a week volunteering at the Hogar del Niño. This alternative Spring Break Program allows for the university students to integrate themselves into a new culture as well as into the hearts of the people in the school, both young and old. This past March, the group of 23 left the snowy streets of Easton, Massachusetts to help with the development of the “Learning English Early” Bilingual Program at the Hogar.

With the help of permanent volunteers and employees at the school, the group designed and created giant posters that will be used in each Nivel Inicial classroom. Furthermore, the volunteers taught the teachers of the Nivel Inicial what each poster meant and the correct pronunciation for each word.

Each morning, the volunteers spent time working in the Nivel Inicial, teaching English to the children through books, music and other strategies. Also, they were placed in the hearing-impaired school, the Zona Verde (the new extracurricular building) and the Infant Room. All of the locations allowed each volunteer to meet and spend time with the students of the Hogar del Niño. The week ended with a volleyball competition and an overall sadness to depart. Groups such as this one from Stonehill College are proof that with a big heart and drive to make a difference, anything is possible in a short amount of time. And, as we always say to our short term volunteers, it is never a “goodbye,” it is only a “see you soon.”

Farleigh Dickinson Volunteers Kick Off the New Year

January 29, 2013 in Involúcrese, The Zona Verde, Programs

From January 9th to January 20th, 13 volunteers from Fairleigh Dickinson University came to volunteer with us at the Hogar del Nino. Of the group of volunteers, there were four who returned from previous year trips, some on their third or fourth visit to the Hogar.

The main project for this year´s group was the creation of a small park behind our extracurricular building, the ZonaVerde.  The idea was to create a space that could be used for class, studying, and relaxing.

The group spent the first few days clearing the space–weeding, cleaning and removing debris from the area. While cleaning up the area, the volunteers picked out larger rocks to use later to paint and outline the garden and the trees.

While laying down gravel, students from the school and volunteers painted the larger rocks to be placed around the area. The volunteers selected artwork from the students of the Zona Verde. The volunteers and the students then worked together for several days to recreate these images on the walls in the form of a mural. They also laid down dirt and soil to prepare the gardens for planting. A variety of herbs, flowers, and plants were planted in the tires as well as in the garden area.

In the end, the volunteers created a great space for learning. The area is now being used for English class and art class in the morning of the Zona Verde.

After completing the small park, the volunteers spent their last few days in other areas of the school, in Sala Cuna sharing time with the infants and visiting toddlers in Nivel Inicial. The volunteers observed the classes while also participating in daily activities, from classroom instruction to English conversation practice to volleyball games and sing-a-longs.

It was a special visit that went by all too quickly, but the Hogar was happy to have this great group visit, and even more we now have a special place created by them for the students at the Hogar to enjoy.

Artists for Kids

December 12, 2012 in Involúcrese, The Zona Verde, Programs

The visiting artists for the Zona Verde Mural project have recently been invited to attend an Exposicion at the 3rd EYE (SOL) ATION Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, where their work will be on display from the 20th of December until the 20th of January, 2013.

Art Professor Argenis Lebron and his group hope to travel and help support the program ´Artists for Kids´ by Hogar del Niño, a program whose mission is to help youth in the community to develop their artistic talents under the supervision and mentoring of professional artists and designers.

If you would like to help support these artists and their trip to New York to promote this program, please contact us by email: or by telephone 809-556-3181.

Zona Verde Transformed

November 29, 2012 in Involúcrese, The Zona Verde

The Zona Verde at Hogar del Niño revealed this past Friday the colorful art project that has been in production the last two weeks . From the 12th to the 23rd of December, a group of 8 Dominican artists—graduates of the design school in Altos de Chavon—created a stunning work of art at the extracurricular building at Hogar del Niño.  The building was completely remodeled on the exterior, from a plain white canvas to a vibrant painting, a lifelike nature scene featuring flowers, landscapes, trees, clouds and creatures.

The unveiling of this project was a great success, and the celebration was lively and cheerful.The event included singing by Quennie Paniagua, dance performances by other students, a presentation about non-violence, and even a song for the Zona Verde. Presentations were also given to honor those involved in the project, which was conceptualized and lead by Art Teacher Argenis Lebron.

The highlight of the event was a transformer costume made of recycled art.  The costume looked as it came right out of the movie, with battery powered lights, lights, gadgets, and artist and designer of the piece, Alexis Valerio, mounted inside the costume.  After revealing the transformer costume, Alexis was instantly swarmed by students anxious to get a picture and to see the transformer up close and personal.

A special thank you to the visiting artists:

Argenis Lebrón : La Romana

Modesto Santiago : Santo Domingo

Wali Vidal : Santiago

Jesús De La Cruz : Santiago

Ivan Ramón : San Juan de La Maguana

Edward Salcedo : Higuey

Hansel Morales : La Romana

Argenis Matos : Santo Domingo

Alexis Valerio : Santiago (Transformer)

And to everyone else involved with this project.

Students from the Zona Verde Visit Hospital Robert Reid Cabral

May 14, 2012 in Events, The Zona Verde

A gesture of love and solidarity took place when students of the Zona Verde at the Hogar del Niño traveled to Robert Reid Cabral Hospital in Santo Domingo to visit their Youth Cancer Center.

The students put aside their own selves for the day and made the trip to the Center to bring music, arts, and crafts—as well as smiles of joy—to the young patients there.  As the Hogar students said, “we came to teach them how to make flowers from recycled newspaper as a gift, and we hope they might be able to make the flowers again themselves and pass on the gift to others in the future.’’

The highlight of the trip was the friendship that developed between the children—the passed the day not only engaged in the projects together, but sharing stories, music, tastes, hobbies and common interests as well, making it an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.

At the end of the day, after sharing a meal of delicious pizza, the children reflected on the experience.  It was clear by the big smiles they carried that the certainly had the satisfaction of having shared, given, received, and to have found good friends.

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