PARAGUAY: Indigenous students have new housing thanks to donor funding
Without housing, many students are not able to continue education.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (May 9, 2023) Salesian students living in the Apostolic Vicariate of el Chaco, Paraguay, have new housing thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The 2022 project provided a new apartment building for disadvantaged Indigenous college students who are studying in the capital of city of Asunción.
The inauguration of the first tower of apartments took place on Dec. 29, 2022. Funding provided for the installation of a transformer, air conditioners, water heaters and a sidewalk outside of the building, as well as blacksmithing of metal bars on the front of the building and gates. It also provided for the completion of the exhibition hall on the ground floor, interior paint and the electrical installation for the building.
“We are grateful to our donors who provided the funding so Salesian students would have a safe and comfortable place to live while they are completing their studies,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions. “Without boarding many of these students wouldn’t have been able to continue their education and prepare for the workforce.”
Salesian missionaries have been working in Paraguay since establishing a church in Asunción in 1896. Paraguay is among the poorest countries in South America. According to UNICEF, almost 23% of its population of 6.5 million people lives in 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.
Conditions of poverty drive youth into early labor and a lack of literacy, in addition to a weak educational foundation, compounds the problem. Those in poverty face overcrowding, low quality housing and a lack of access to basic household services. Paraguayans who only graduate from primary school are twice as likely to live in poverty as those who have access to and complete secondary school.
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