What is a social immersion program

What is a Social Immersion Program?

It is an intensive encounter with the social reality of a country or region, guided by local social studies professionals, that provides a deep and comprehensive understanding from a human, economic, social, cultural and historical perspective.

Our participants also learn about models of social services in an international setting.

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  • Each Immersion Program is customized to the focus and needs of each group. To secure a transforming experience, the minimum number of participants is 14 and the maximum is 36 people per group.
  • Participants sleep overnight at retreat houses run by the Jesuits, and other centers, such as school dorms, that are safe, clean and comfortable.
  • Local translators help non-Spanish speaking participants during the experience.
  • Transportation is secured by the organizers from and to the Airport. Fees also cover all essential meals and accommodations.
  • Lectures and dialogues are given or guided by professional social researchers and organizers.
  • During the immersion programs participant meet lay people, Jesuits and other religious people engaged in social ministry in the Dominican Republic.
  •  This immersion program is not tourism, but a crash course, a travel experience, that exposes and explains social, legal, religious, cultural and economic realities of the countries and communities of the Caribbean from the hand of the work and institutions run by the Jesuits and their collaborators.
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Why in the Caribbean?

This region is a convection of many different cultures: French, Spanish, Briton, American, Creole. Knowing the Caribbean helps to understand an important wave of immigrants in the United States.

“In 2009, the United States was home to 3.5 million immigrants from the Caribbean, who accounted for 9 percent of the total foreign-born population. More than 90 percent of these immigrants came from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago, and Cuban immigrants in particular have been among the top ten foreign-born groups in the United States each decade since 1970.” (…) “In 2009, the vast majority of Caribbean immigrants were from Cuba (28.6 percent), the Dominican Republic (22.9 percent), Jamaica (18.8 percent), Haiti (15.5 percent), and Trinidad and Tobago (6.4 percent).”

Source: Migration Policy Institute.

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Who is behind this program?

This program is sponsored by the Social Ministries Office of the Jesuits in the Dominican Republic and co-sponsored by Centro Bono, Solidaridad Fronteriza, CEFASA, and Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes (SJM) – all Jesuit-run social centers.

Centro Bono

Centro Bonó is a social action think-tank, sponsored by the Society of Jesus in the Dominican Republic, that seeks to build a just, intercultural and solitary society promoting the dignity of marginalized and impoverished communities by helping them to become agents of their social transformation.

Centro Bonó is part of a Network of Social Centers sponsored by the Society of Jesus in the Dominican Republic and Latin America and the Servicio de Jesuitas a Migrantes.

Centro Bono’s goals are 1) to strengthen social action movements, 2) to assist marginalized communities, 3) to create and socialize critical thinking and intercultural ideas, and 4) to promote long term institutional sustainability.

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Cefasa

CEFASA stands for Centro de Formación y Acción Social y Agraria and was founded in 1963 inspired by Catholic social teaching to serve, organize and train farm workers in the northern region of the Dominican Republic.

Currently, CEFASA has refocused its mission to urban populations with the mission to assist and empower grass-roots social groups, impact the public policy process, provide legal assistance and advocate for human rights.

CEFASA is located in Santiago, Dominican Republic and works with the civil society, impoverished population, and migrants in the area.

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Solidaridad Fronteriza

Solidaridad Fronteriza’s mission is to strengthen grassroots organizations in the northern border of Dominican Republic with Haiti promoting the values of faith, justice and culture. Solidaridad Fronteriza seeks to elevate the quality of live and dignity of impoverished border communities with programs focused on migrants and the civil society.

Solidaridad Fronteriza supports the development of civil society through four programs: 1) social enterprises, 2) ecology, 3) gender equality, and 4) food safety and prevent health care. It also runs several programs serving the migrant population: 1) human rights, 2) migrant credit union, 3) institutional capacity building, 4) Dominican-Haitian organizations, and 5) legal assistance

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Staff

Rev. Mario Serrano, sj

General Coordinator of the social sector of the Jesuits in the the Dominican Republic.

serrano@siprogram.org

Josefina Sanchez

Manager of CSIP in the United States.

jsanchez@siprogram.org

Frankelly Martinez

Logistic Coordinator for Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

martinez@siprogram.org