It was in the Dominican Republic’s La Romana region where she and members of her church reached out to one of the area’s most impoverished communities with a single-minded mission of help and hope. Aleyda accepted the challenge of providing Christ-centered education for the children there and, in 1996, opened a modest two-room school, calling it El Collegia Luz de Porvenir. The structure was pieced together with corrugated tin and whatever building materials could be found. At the time, there were no roads to the community and the school was reachable only on foot or by motorbike. But the children came. Then, only two years later, a hurricane decimated La Romana, taking the little school house with it.
With only her faith and tenacity, Aleyda resurrected the school under a makeshift shelter of blue plastic tarps. Her dedication to her students refused to yield – even to hurricane force – and over the next twelve years Aleyda’s school slowly grew to 230 students in five classrooms.

In March 2011, Aleyda received her first loan from Edify. With $2,600 she was able to construct a classroom. The structural expansion accommodates 60 additional students – 30 in the morning and 30 in the afternoon session. A second Edify loan over the summer paid for 11 computer work stations. The new computer lab represents a quantum leap in the breadth of education Aleyda can deliver. With the addition of the computer and science labs, Aleyda will graduate her first senior class this spring! It’s a crucial step toward her goal of providing a complete K-12 curriculum. Her ultimate target of 2,000 students is suddenly not so audacious, but rather a foreseeable reality.

Since the beginning, Aleyda’s primary mission has been “to make the love of Christ known to my students,” and she describes her work as “not just a school, but a clinic for the soul.” But beneath the tender benevolence of her words, there lies the steely perseverance of one who will not be deterred by the forces of man or nature. Come rain or shine Aleyda is committed to providing quality education for her children. With tears streaming down her face, she expresses overwhelming gratitude for the partnership with Edify.

To hear more of Aleyda’s story, watch the video below.

This story is an excerpt from Edify’s 2011 Annual Report