Author Archive

FPV is now DPV

Futbol para la Vida is now Deportes para la Vida, a core part of the youth leadership programs of the DREAM Project based in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. Originally started at Batey Libertad as a partnership with the University of Vermont and Grassroot Soccer, DPV has grown into a nationwide program with support from Peace Corps and funding from their PEPFAR program (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).

DPV DPV currently hosts two facilitator trainings and one National Conference each year for youth leaders and Peace Corps volunteers from across the Dominican Republic. DREAM co-sponsors two additional reinforcement events for active trainers per year. Over 200 facilitators have been trained since 2010, and over 1,400 students yearly receive this powerful course. This nation-wide network of facilitators enables the program to grow into many areas, where health and life decision-making education is much needed.

For more information, contact DPV coordinator Yanlico Munesi Dusdal.

November 30, 2013 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

HIV/AIDS education program expands to Haiti

Coaches Foutbol pou LaviA new “Soccer for Life” program based on Futbol para la Vida, originally developed at Batey Libertad, was recently launched in Haiti as Foutbol pou Lavi by Mercy Corps and Partners in Health.  With the help of Yanlico Munesi Dusdal from Batey Libertad, the program kicked off on World AIDS Day on December 1 in Port-au-Prince.  Foutbol pou Lavi developed from the curriculum originally adapted from Grassroot Soccer, a global leader in sports-based HIV/AIDS prevention education.

The new program has already trained 60 people from around the country to be FPV coaches. Each will work with 40 youth over the next six months. In total, the 18-month project will reach over 13,000 young people in a country where an estimated 2 to 3 percent of the population is infected with HIV — among the highest prevalence in Latin America.

For more information, read “‘Soccer for Life’ Kicks off on World AIDS Day“.

December 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

UVM, Fundacion de Libertad stand together with Haiti

Please join in the efforts of Fundacion de Libertad, the University of Vermont (UVM) and Partners in Health in providing relief to Haiti.  UVM students, staff, and faculty have been involved with humanitarian work in Haiti and with Haitian migrant communities in neighboring Dominican Republic for many years, most recently through medical missions and service-learning courses. Now is the time to build on our established ties and join in solidarity with the community of Batey Libertad and  Haiti to support ongoing relief efforts. We will be supporting the many efforts by sending our raised funds to Partners in Health, a medical group working in Haiti since 1987. Founded by Dr. Paul Farmer — the subject of this past year’s UVM book pick Mountains Beyond Mountains — Partners in Health has been a model for the world for health care delivery to the poor.

There are a variety of ways to make donations in support of the UVM Haiti Relief Fund:

  • If you’re in Burlington, visit one of our convenient locations on campus to drop off donations, including the Davis Center Information Desks, Waterman Building Information Desk, UVM Bookstore, Bailey Howe Library Information Desk, and Dana Medical Library.
  • Contribute directly to Partners in Health by clicking here or sending a check made out to Partners In Health with “Haiti” in the memo line to: Partners In Health, P.O. Box 845578, Boston, MA 02284-557.
  • Donate to the UVM Haiti Relief Fund with a check sent to: UVM Haiti Relief Fund, Grasse Mount, 411 Main Street, Burlington, Vermont 05405.

In addition, the University will collect donations from January 19, 2010 until January 29, 2010 in the spirit of our Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, through “A Week of Giving” program.  Look for information at the events.  All of the donations collected at UVM will go directly to Partners in Health in Haiti.  Finally, the Office of Student Life Leadership and Civic Engagement web site has additional information on relief efforts in Haiti.

Thank you everyone for your kindness, prayers and support during this difficult time.

UVM and the Community of Batey Libertad

January 16, 2010 at 1:09 pm 1 comment

4:53 pm, January 12, 2010

A time line of the week since 4:53 p.m., January 12th in Haiti ….

January 16, 2010 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

Batey Libertad featured in new documentary

A new documentary by Fleischer Films entitled “Cane & Able: Hope in Hispaniola” highlights both the community gardening and HIV/AIDS prevention education projects at Batey Libertad.  The film explores the legacy and current conditions of bateyes in the Dominican Republic, communities originally developed as work camps in Dominican sugar plantations for Haitian migrants.  The two projects highlighted at Batey Libertad have grown out of collaborations between the community, the University of Vermont, and non-governmental organizations working in the Dominican Republic.  The first project developed with University of Vermont students and faculty and the NGO Seeds of Self Reliance, a group working in the DR and Haiti on building “community through gardening”.  To view a clip about the origins of the community farm, click on the YouTube video below.

A second project, also a collaboration with the University of Vermont, grew out of a pilot project with the international NGO Grassroot Soccer.  Today, Futbol para la Vida is an HIV/AIDS prevention education program based at Batey Libertad and working through a network of schools, NGOs, and communities in the Valverde and Puerto Plata provinces. To view a clip about the FPV program from the documentary project, click on the YouTube video below.

December 6, 2009 at 12:46 pm 2 comments

One World, One Health – New UVM service learning course to the Dominican Republic

Dr. Pat Erickson of the University of Vermont’s Animal Science Department will be leading a course entitled “Conservation Medicine in the Developing World: A One World, One Health Approach” to the Dominican Republic from March 5th through 13th. The course will be designed to understand the link between anthropogenic environmental change, conservation and the health of all species. Students will be participating in ongoing community projects at Batey Libertad, learning about ecological restoration research and projects of the Center for Sustainability of Punta Cana’s Ecological Foundation, and experiencing the rich biological diversity of the Dominican Republic.

Hispaniola, the Caribbean island which the Dominican Republic shares with Haiti, is home to thousands of plant species, including 600 kinds of ferns, some 226 species of birds, more than 285 kinds of butterflies and 134 kinds of reptiles, including four species of marine turtles. Protecting this wealth is a challenge in any geographical area, and the pressure in the developing world is substantial. Our understanding of these unique problems can only come during direct contact with the people and species whose lives are so deeply entwined.

For more information, see the University of Vermont study abroad page, or contact Pat directly at

December 5, 2009 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

March travel-study course to Batey Libertad

Join Professor McKew Devitt of the University of Vermont’s Department of Romance Language and Literatures for his fourth consecutive March  travel-study class to the Dominican Republic.  The class will help fund and build a house for a family in need; interact with Dominicans and Haitians on a batey in a community garden and on a soccer field; experience ecotourism at a natural water park; tour an organic shade-grown coffee farm; travel to the city of Dajabón on the Dominican-Haitian border on market day; visit the oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere; and learn the difference between merengue and bachata!

Through all of these activities the class will be observing and discussing some recurring themes: the construction of a national identity through cultural and historical manifestations; land use and immigration; racial tensions between Dominicans and Haitians; and the roles of tourists (and student visitors) and the possible positive and negative impacts tourism has on a society.

Prior to the trip students will be required to read and discuss various texts about Hispaniola, both fiction and non-fiction, including The Farming of the Bones by Edwidge Danticat and Why the Cocks Fight by Michele Wucker. These readings will provide a historical foundation on which to base  observations during the trip.  The course builds on past classes and student projects such as Fútbol para la Vida — an HIV/AIDS prevention education program piloted by a past UVM group — and a community gardening project seeded (literally) by UVM students and the NGO Seeds of Reliance. We will also continue a literacy project in the batey community which includes developing a library and a tri-lingual exchange.

For more information, see the University of Vermont study abroad page, or contact McKew directly at:

December 5, 2009 at 8:31 pm Leave a comment

Third annual Community Gardening class headed to the DR this January

For the third consecutive January, John Hayden of the University of Vermont’s Plant and Soil Science Department will be leading a service-learning course to the Dominican Republic to learn about (and do!) community gardening.  As an organic farmer, sustainable agriculture professor, and co-founder of Seeds of Self Reliance, John will offer students an opportunity to live and work alongside Dominicans and Haitians in a previously established community farm in Batey Libertad, and extend lessons learned to a new farm site at the community of Saman in the Puerto Plata Province.

Seeking ways to improve nutrition and income-earning opportunities by establishing a community-run farm, the class work together with community members in learning organic vegetable production techniques, composting, and small scale livestock rearing. Students will also visit the Finca Alta Gracia organic shade- grown coffee and tropical fruit farm to participate in  harvesting coffee, set up a worm composting demonstration, and learn other farming techniques. The class will begin with tours of successful community gardens and urban agriculture sites in La Vega. These will serve as a model for the Batey farm. We will take a one day break in the middle of the trip to sample the north shore beaches. The second part of the class will focus on agro-forestry in the tropics, including shade grown coffee and tropical fruit production. We will be given tours by experts from the Dominican agriculture sector.

For more information, see the University of Vermont study abroad page, or contact John directly at:

December 5, 2009 at 8:21 pm Leave a comment

World AIDS Day premiere of new documentary featuring Batey Libertad projects

Please join the University of Vermont travel-study program to the Dominican Republic and the Center for Health and Well-Being on World AIDS Day for the world premiere of:

Cane and Able: Hope in Hispaniola

Chittenden Bank Room (413), Davis Center
University of Vermont
Tuesday, December 1st at 4 p.m.

This new documentary by Fleischer Films highlights ongoing service-learning projects of University of Vermont students and faculty in Haitian migrant communities in the Dominican Republic, including a community farming initiative with Seeds of Self-Reliance and an HIV/AIDS prevention education program with Grassroot Soccer.  Following the film will be a short discussion with UVM faculty Jon Erickson (Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources), Pat Erickson (Animal Science), John Hayden (Plant and Soil Science), and McKew Devitt (Romance Languages) and current and past students from their Dominican Republic classes.

For more information on upcoming January and March faculty-led programs abroad to the Dominican Republic, see:

For more information on the event, please contact Jon Erickson at or 802-656-3328.

November 30, 2009 at 1:47 am Leave a comment

Soccer tournament and fundraiser a big success

While the shoes didn’t come off, and we played in the indoor tennis courts, the 5th Annual “Lose the Shoes” soccer tournament and fundraiser otherwise went off without a hitch despite the cold weather outdoors.  Thanks to Christina Newman and Devon Bryne for organizing what has quickly become a University of Vermont fall tradition.  And thanks to our sponsors, Boloco Burritos, Bruegger’s Bagels, and Eurosport for the good eats and prizes.  All proceeds supported the Futbol para la Vida HIV/AIDS prevention education program, a collaboration of Fundacion de Libertad.

Here’s a short video capturing the day’s events and tying the UVM event to the network of “Lose the Shoes” tournaments happening at college campuses around the country in support of Grassroot Soccer and affiliate programs.

October 4, 2009 at 4:04 pm Leave a comment

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