Dominica NOVEMBER 2001; Support for a school for mentally handicapped children!

On November 10, 2001 we traveled to the Eastern Caribbean area. During a sailing holiday we visited a number of islands in that region, among which Dominica.

 `The Dominica Association for the Mentally Handicapped` is a foundation on the island of Dominica, which, among others, supports The Alpha Center, a school for mentally handicapped children. In 1996 the association was able to build a new school building with the help of private individuals and several institutions from all over the world. However, the school is still in need of means in order to educate and support the children sufficiently.

The project: The Alpha Center comprises a school building of five classrooms, a workshop, two offices, toilets, a kitchen and a storage room. The school is managed by a small group of volunteers of The Dominica Association for the Mentally Handicapped. The objective of the school is to offer each child the opportunity to fully develop socially, emotionally, spiritually, cognitively and physically within their own capacity. In time, this will enable the child to function independently in society as much as possible. In addition the Association teaches the neighborhood how to cope with mentally handicapped people and thus creates acceptation.

The Parent Support Group gives educational and emotional support to parents of mentally handicapped children. For a year now, one of the class rooms has been used for children who could not keep up with the regular pace of teaching at regular schools due to various circumstances. They are taken care of and educated at the Alpha Center in order to be able to re-integrate with their former school. This is also a good way of integration. Sports and games are played together with the handicapped children, an important step towards the integration of mentally handicapped children in Dominican society.

What did TravellingAid bring?: 

- English lessons books and reading books for children between the age of 5 and 15

- Paintbrushes, pens and balloons

- Puzzles, games and comic books

What did TravellingAid buy on the spot:

- English lessons books and reading books for children between the age of 5 and 15

- Finger-paint, paintbrushes, aprons

- A4-sized paper

- Photocopier

- Games and puzzles 

- Printer

- Christmas decoration, Christmas material 

- glue, tape  

- Ironing board and iron for housekeeping lessons

In the past the children of the school were invited to celebrate Christmas on board of one of the cruise ships that entered the Port of Roseau on a weekly basis. The shipping company did not invite the children last year, which caused a lot of disappointment among them. That is why TravellingAid bought the school Christmas lighting and Christmas materials in order to create a Christmas atmosphere at school. An amount of 100 Euro was given to the school to buy the children Christmas presents.

What does the future of the Alpha Center look like?: At this moment The Alpha Center is not financially supported by the Government, they have no regular income, excluding 30 Euro per child which has to be paid by the parents themselves. Each month they receive 45 Euro worth of shopping from the local supermarket and the children are picked up and brought home by the Christian Youth Association. From this small income, the teachers, maintenance of the school and necessary equipment has to be paid.

Would you like to know more about the Alpa Center, visit On this site you will find all the information on the Alpha Center and their activities. This site is made in co-operation with the Alpha Center in order to make it easier for the The Alpha Center to collect money and goods nationally and internationally. Will you be visiting Dominica or do you have friends that will, do you think it an experience to teach these children for a period of time, please let us know? Would you like to pay for the school fee for a child or send material, please mail us at


The country:  The island Dominica is situated between Martinique and Guadeloupe and has a surface of 751 square kilometers and has 71,000 inhabitants.  Dominica is an independent republic under supervision of the Commonwealth. The economy on the island is dependent on agriculture, mainly consisting of banana plantations (75%), coconut plantations and citrus fruit plantations. Although 300 cruise boats call at the Port of the capital Roseau, tourism is still underdeveloped with 90,000 overnight stays on the island per year.