Spotlight: Dominican Republic

Building Bottle Clinics and Schools

Come build health clinics out of discarded plastic bottles to support rural communities.

Building a "Bottle Clinic"

In the Dominican Republic, we are building a network of clinics made of discarded plastic bottles. These “bottle clinics” are constructed jointly by local craftsmen, community members and Discover Corps travelers.

Bottle clinics are built using tried and tested post and beam construction. The foundations, columns, and beams are made from concrete or wood. What makes it different from traditional construction is that, instead of cinder-blocks, the walls are made using plastic bottles held together by chicken wire.

Listen to the Doctor

Dr. Kerolle helps to coordinates our medical projects. Besides serving rural Dominican communities, he also works in communities of Haitian migrants called “bateys.” Under his guidance, we have completed three clinics and are currently working to build three more.

Dr. Kerolle visits each clinic once a week to provide free consultations. In each community, he is assisted by a Community Health Agent (CHA) who lives permanently in that community and provides ongoing monitoring and support. The most common health problems include diabetes, high blood pressure, and malnutrition.


Why Build Bottle Clinics?

The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights says that everyone has the right to medical care — yet millions of people across the world don’t have easy access.

Today’s consumer society is generating tons of inorganic trash every year — much of it plastic. Rural communities in the Dominican Republic don’t have a way to deal with non-biodegradable trash, so it often ends up burned or thrown into rivers, oceans, streets, and fields.

Bottle clinics provide an efficient way to tackle these two huge problems at once — and, at the same time, they deliver environmental education, empower residents to learn transferable skills, promote community ownership, and create a place where locals can both receive medical care and engage in community activities.

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