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A Discussion with a Student, St. Ignatius of Loyola Technical Institute, Dajabón, Dominican Republic

May 25, 2017

Background: As part of the Education and Social Justice Fellowship, in May 2017 undergraduate student Mary Breen interviewed a student of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Technical Institute (Instituto Tecnológico San Ignacio de Loyola, ITESIL) in Dajabón, Dominican Republic. As a resident of another city, this student describes the unique qualities of this border town and the problem of discrimination.

How long have you attended this school?

Three years.

How long have you lived in Dajabón?

I do not live in Dajabón. I travel by bus from Santiago de la Cruz.

Can you describe the differences between the two places? 

When I entered here, in my first year there was a total change in my life. Even in my habit of studying, everything changed. It is more efficient and much better, and I learn more. 

Outside of school, what do you think about life at the border here in Dajabón?

This subject is discussed a lot, since we are so close to Haiti. There are many policies, and many people are always in contact. However, in Dajabón there is a lot of discrimination against Haitians. Here at the school, there is not.

How would you like to see this problem change?

I want the discrimination to change and a change with the government here, because the government says something but they do not carry it out in many cases. So, there are many people that do not have their formal papers to be here. Many live in fear that they are going to be found and not have safe contact with the police. 

Do you think there is a relationship between education and the challenges at the border, especially with the discrimination you mentioned? Do you think Jesuit education helps the situation or that some types of education reinforce the discrimination?

For me, no school reinforces the discrimination. Yes, I think there is a relationship between education and a solution for the border, because here people of Haitian nationality are taught as well, and here there are very good students with strong values. 

What do you think is different about a Jesuit education, like the one you are receiving here?

A Jesuit education is a little more complete in comparison to other public schools, because they give a deeper formation. It is more internal for us.

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