From Students to Teachers, This Great Austin Non-Profit is Empowering An Entire Community in the Dominican Republic

Great Austin non-profit, Makarios, operates a school in one of the poorest regions of the Dominican Republic, however their goal is more than education.

Francis, also known as Cakito, was one of the first Makarios’ students at age 10. Now he’s one of the school’s homegrown leaders. Image via Makarios.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “each one teach one?” It’s a very simple, but profound message. It’s a message of empowerment.

em·pow·er [verb] — give (someone) the authority or power to do something. make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

Empowerment is the very core of Makarios’ mission in the Dominican Republic. They want to empower the exact people they are working to educate to lead and teach themselves. Or, per the definition of the word, they want to “make them stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their lives and claiming their rights.”

Cakito was one of the first students at Makarios Colegio and now he’s a teacher at the school he says changed his life forever. Image via Makarios.

Maybe the perfect living example of this empowerment is Cakito, seen here.

Cakito was one of the first students at Makarios’ education programs in 2004 when he was 10 years old. Twelve years later, he credits Makarios for changing his life forever, “the way that the first Makarios missionaries cared about me and loved me helped me develop the same care and love for my family and community.” Now Chaplain of Makarios Colegio, Cakito is the perfect local role model for the students he’s leading. He is the example of what’s possible when given the opportunity.

Once one of these young students, Cakito is now a teacher, leader, and mentor for the next generation of his community. Image via Makarios.

We were able to hear directly from Cakito on what life with Makarios has meant to him and his community. These are his words:

Name:

Francis, but everyone calls me Cakito.

Occupation:

Chaplain.

How long have you been with Makarios?

Since I was a kid in the program, but as an employee for 5 years.

Tell us about your family.

I still live with my family in my mom’s house. Since my mom is a single mom we grew up with many challenges. I have 5 siblings.

What is your favorite part about what you do?

The time in chapel with the kids.

Tell us about how you came to know Christ?

I accepted Christ when I was very young. But I started to walk with Him when I was 15 after a basketball game when a friend took me to church.

What has been the best thing about being involved with Makarios?

To have the chance to serve the people of the neighborhood that I love the most in the world, here in Pancho Mateo.

When you are overwhelmed or sad, what do you do that brings you peace?

To play basketball and to spend time in my neighborhood.

What has been the most life changing event in your life?

Knowing and following Jesus.

Is there anything else you want to share about who you are? (dreams, aspirations, humor, hobbies, fun fact?)

To be the pastor of young people and basketball coach.

If you’d like to help Makarios continue to empower more students like Cakito, then subscribe $5/month right here.

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