Invisible children — now visible

By November 20, 2009

Dominican Republic (MNN) — Most people in industrialized nations have birth certificates. However, in 2nd and 3rd world nations, birth certificates are very difficult to obtain, adding to the overwhelming disadvantages these children face.

Kids Alive International has recognized the problem, especially in the Dominican Republic. The ministry's Dominican Republic director Vic Trautwein says the problem is huge there. "Twenty-six percent of the children here are unregistered, which essentially means they don't have birth certificates, and they're invisible. The government doesn't recognize that they exist."

This creates great problems. "It's very difficult for them to get any education. The public schools will often deny them access. We meet children who are 9, 10, or 12 years old who have never been to school."

Trautwein believes this almost condemns them. "It almost ensures that they're in a life of systemic poverty because not only do they have trouble getting any level of education, but they can never be a banker, a teacher, or any kind of professional. They can never have a job with benefits because that requires being registered in a government system."

And without birth a certificate, it is impossible to register.

Kids Alive runs schools and orphanages in the country. They not only help their kids get birth certificates, but they also provide education to those who don't have them.

While education is important, Trautwein says training them in the Bible is even more important. "Every one of our programs has a discipleship component. [Since] we have access to them in the orphanages and schools every day, we're raising a generation of hope."

That hope can only be found in Christ alone.

The support you provide helps Kids Alive share this hope with even more children. You can do that through sponsoring a child, or get involved in the program, "Christmas Gifts for Needy Children."

"When you meet some of our teenagers that are on fire for God and are well-educated, and you understand their background, it really is a source of great joy. We love our work down here because we see kids lives changed in a dramatic way. And sharing the Gospel is more important than anything we do."

If you'd like to help Kids Alive International's work in the Dominican Republic or other areas of the world, click here.

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