Paraguay

Paraguay

Paraguay is among the poorest countries in South America. According to UNICEF, almost 35 percent of its 6.5 million population live in poverty with close to 20 percent living in extreme poverty, earning less than $1 per day. The gap between the small upper class and the large lower class is extreme and offers virtually no social mobility. As a result, conditions of poverty drive youth into early labor. A lack of literacy, in addition to a weak educational foundation, compounds the problem.

Salesian missionaries have been working in Paraguay since 1896, beginning their work in the capital Asunción, near the port on the Paraguay River. There, they established a church and educational programs focusing on the arts and trades to help advance the skills and knowledge of the indigenous people.

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Provide technical & vocational training

The Carlos Pfannl Salesian Institute of Coronel Oviedo, named for its benefactor, has launched the “Poverty reduction and sustainable improvement in the living conditions of producers and technical training of young people in the Caaguazú Department” project. The project was developed in response to the International Labour Office’s report that among the most serious problems within the rural sector of Paraguay is low productivity and insufficient wages for workers.

The International Labour Office has reported that the agro-pastoral sector has the highest incidence of violations of fundamental rights of workers, high frequency of accidents, health problems at work and discrimination. Rural villages in the country remain behind in development. The Salesian Institute, which has trained thousands of youth at a national level, has always supported rural communities and the smaller farms within the villages. Today more than ever, those responsible for the Salesian Institute feel engaged in the economic development and production of the country and felt the time was right for this new training project.

The project provides young farmers with a basic education as well as advanced studies in the latest agricultural practices and modern technologies, while moving toward efficiency in farming by exploring and testing new techniques in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and animal husbandry. The school provides both classroom education and hands-on agriculture and livestock training on a working farm on the school campus.

Salesian missionaries at the school hope the agriculture degree program will entice more local youth to choose agriculture as their long-term livelihood. With a long history of providing agricultural education, missionaries currently operate more than 90 agriculture schools around the world.

Respond to disasters & emergencies

Youth and their families living along the Paraguay River in Asunción, the capital and largest city of Paraguay, received emergency food relief in December 2015 after the region experienced the worst flooding in 50 years. Officials in the country initiated a state of emergency after the flooding caused close to 130,000 residents to flee their homes.

The emergency food relief was made possible thanks to an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit Christian organization committed to, “feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit.” The partnership resulted in the donation of 10,000 kilograms of rice-meals to help provide food security for 40,000 displaced flood victims residing in settlements along the Paraguay River. Remaining rice-meals were distributed to Salesian programs in the region.

Improve infrastructure

Salesian missionaries have collaborated with the Fundación Teletón (Telethon Foundation) to launch the Center for Integral Rehabilitation in the district of Minga Guazú. The Center provides services to more than 500 children and adolescents with disabilities. Fundación Teletón is a private nonprofit organization that helps children and adolescents with disabilities. Salesian missionaries in the area donated land to the organization where the Center was built.

The Center for Integral Rehabilitation is the fourth of its kind to be opened in the country. At the opening ceremony, Andrés Silva, executive director of the Foundation, noted the importance of helping those in need, especially children and adolescents who have disabilities. He said that thanks to Salesian missionaries these youth can now benefit from services accessible to them. The Center was made possible through the collaboration of the local citizens, the Salesian Province of Paraguay and the Itaipú Binacional Company, as well as the collaboration of volunteers and the City of Minga Guazú.

The Center is located in an area that is more accessible to local families who previously would have had to travel up to seven hours to receive similar services. The building has a room for visitors, rooms for hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, a multi-sensory room, occupational therapy, a multipurpose hall for meetings and various other facilities. The aim of the Center is to develop integral services for progressive rehabilitation at a national level for people with disabilities and their families by promoting an inclusive society and coordinating the efforts of various sectors of the community through events, campaigns, programs and initiatives.

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From Paraguay

From Paraguay

Cultivating a Better Future in Paraguay

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in Paraguay

Agriculture Training Programs

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