“Hello. Salam. Merhaba. Hola.”
Mr. Halil Demir, the Executive Director of Zakat Foundation of America (ZF), greeted the class of Dominican Republic university students in multiple languages. As an honorary speaker delivering a seminar, Mr. Demir visited the Wonders Development Center, a locally funded educational project in Santo Domingo.
Wonders Development Center aims at providing a space for students and young professionals to expand their educational backgrounds and enrich their professional profiles. One of the goals of the project is to cultivate young students to participate in Dominican Republic’s work force.
The project focuses on language and technical skills. The students Mr. Demir visited were enrolled in English immersion courses. They were delighted to have the chance of meeting Mr. Demir and spending time with a native speaker of the English language.
“The students understand learning a new language opens a horizon,” said Mr. Demir. “The Dominican Republic has a strong tourism sector and is heavily populated by tourists, so learning foreign languages would provide many opportunities for the youth.”
ZF has been involved in the Dominican Republic since 2010. During the earthquake relief in Haiti, the Dominican Republic was used as the headquarters for logistical support. Currently, ZF is in the process of launching further projects into Latin America by using Dominican Republic as a base.