A picture of the Piedra Viva School in Paraguay.

Creating room for more children in Paraguay

Since 2014, generous Canadians have supported the Piedra Viva School in Capiata, Paraguay by providing scholarships for children living in poverty.

Along the way, the school has taken in more and more students from families desperate to give their children a more hopeful future. Now, the school has run out of space.

A picture of the graduating students of the Piedra Viva School in Paraguay

The School: A Beacon Of Hope

The school started after Miriam Marin, along with her husband who is the pastor of the Piedra Viva Church, dreamed of a school in their community.

Capiata, a small town outside of Asuncion, is one of the more dangerous communities in the country. Known for the sale of cheap goods, gangs and drug abuse, the community is at risk.

Miriam knows just how important school is for the future of the children. Many families like her own struggle to raise their children. They have few opportunities and are afraid for the safety of their family.

As principal of the school, Miriam understands the challenges the families face. Today the school has more than 130 students from kindergarten to Grade 5. And they are out of space.

At the end of Grade 5 the students have no options. Far too often they will choose the streets and join a gang, lured by the dream of money and drugs. Right now there is no school for the children who have completed Grade 5.

Students at the Piedra Viva School in Paraguay

Expanding The School

We’ve worked with the community to create a plan for an addition to the school. The addition will create enough space for the children to continue their education.

The community and our team are praying we can start the addition in time for the graduating grade 5 class to start grade 6 in the new year.

The community is ready to start. They have committed to providing volunteer labour. They have little disposable income – but they are strong and energetic. Most of all, they are proud people.

And while they do not have the financial resources to build a school, on their own, they give all they can.

We need to raise $65,000 this year to build the school. But right now we need to raise the first $15,000 to build a retaining wall.

The school is located on the edge of a small creek that keeps eroding its banks every time it rains, threatening to wash away the foundation of the school. We want to build this school to last for years to come. The wall is the first step in building a place of hope that will stand the test of time

We’re grateful for your support. The bottom line is that a solid Christian education transforms the lives of the children – and the children transform their community. Thank you for investing in a more hopeful future for a generation that is rising!

Belen’s Story

Belen is a star student at the La Amistad School in Asuncion, Paraguay.

She loves hanging out with her friends and taking care of her little brother.

Her mom couldn’t be more proud of her.

That’s because Belen is beating all odds simply by going to school.

At her age, in her neighourhood, she should be learning how to hustle on the streets.

Instead, she is learning math and science. She is learning history and language and music. And she is learning about the love of God.

The La Amistad school is a beacon of hope in the crime-ridden neighbourhood of Puerto Botanico, where it is easier for young people to enter a life of crime than to enter a school.

Together with generous supporters like you, we built the school from the ground up at the urging of a local pastor. He himself was assaulted and nearly killed by teenagers he recognized from his daycare program years ago. Belen’s life could have followed a similar path. She fits all the right criteria.

But today, Belen is on her way to build a hopeful future because people like you invested in the vision of the school and helped provide teachers, textbooks, uniforms and daily nutrition — all in a loving, safe environment.

On October 5th, we will be celebrating the dedication ceremony of the La Amistad School.

Because of an incredible effort by Generation Rising supporters over the last three years, the school is now completely finished construction.

We are still looking for Canadian partners who will make it possible for a child in poverty to attend the school.

You can help by sponsoring a child today, helping them get a quality education that will give them the opportunity to build a hopeful future.

Thank you so much for everything you’ve done already!

A picture of the Community Education Centre under construction in Cateura

Construction begins on Community Education Centre

Shovels are in the ground to build the Community Education Centre in Cateura.

Thanks to the generous donations during last year’s Recycled Orchestra Tour — and together with our local partner, the community organization Harmonia — we acquire an old building that came up for sale in the neighbourhood.

Unforeseen flooding in the city of Asuncion and a delay in obtaining the necessary permits caused a setback in construction, but in February we officially broke ground on what will become a vibrant community centre.

The centre will house workshops for the parents that will help them learn about health and hygiene, financial literacy and other life skills. It will include a space for children to just be children while their parents are out pursuing employment.

It will be a space for the Recycled Orchestra to practice – and it will house music classes for the more than 200 children who are now enrolled in the program.

Our Long-Term Plans

The community of Cateura attracts a lot of storytellers who come with cameras and leave again.

As an organization, we have committed to a long-term partnership.

We have purchased land, a building and equipment. We have committed our presence to the people. We plan to stay involved with the education of the children in the community, so that every child can build a hopeful future.

For now, we are starting with the Community Centre to gain the trust of the community and establish a relationship.

Picture of the LA Amistad School

La Amistad celebrates Grand Opening

After three years of fundraising and construction, we recently celebrated the Grand Opening of the La Amistad School!

More than 200 parents and community members came out to the dedication ceremony. Following a short service at the La Amistad Church and a tour of the school, attendees got together for a big community barbecue!

The school was built thanks to so many generous Generation Rising supporters who invested in the vision of the La Amistad Church over the last three years.

The school started with a dream that Pastor Alfred Klassen had after three youth in the crime-ridden neighbourhood attacked him and nearly left him for dead.

“As I lay bleeding on the floor, I knew in that moment that we needed to build a school so these youth don’t get involved in gang life or in crime,” said Alfred at the dedication ceremony.

Now, the school has enough space to help up to 350 children get off the streets and into a classroom to get a quality, Christ-centered education.

We couldn’t have done it without you – thank you so much!

Picture of the future site of the Community Education Centre in Cateura, Paraguay.

Community Education Centre moves ahead

Thanks to your generous donations during the Recycled Orchestra Tour, we’re moving ahead with developing the Community Education Centre in Cateura by reconstructing an existing building that came up for sale.

The building is located in a more established area of Cateura, far enough from the river to avoid being flooded during the rainy season but close enough for the children in the neighbourdhood to walk to.

The first phase of the centre will provide a safe space for the Orchestra program to grow and help more children get off the streets and into the music program. It will also provide a space for supervised homework time after school.

As you can see in the pictures below, the community is already testing out the space – but we’ll be starting the reconstruction of the first phase once the necessary permits are in!

A picture of Favio Chavez and the Recycled Orchestra from Paraguay - the Landfill Harmonic

Recycled Orchestra Tour huge success

After 15 events during the span of 17 days across Canada, the Recycled Orchestra Tour has come to a successful end!

More than 12,000 people attended the shows in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and B.C. in support of building an education centre in their home town of Cateura, Paraguay.
Thank you!

A huge thank you to each and every person who attended a concert, made a donation, told a friend about it, prepared food for the orchestra, provided lodging, helped prepare and clean the venues, helped usher during an event or supported the tour in prayer!

Over and over again, participants of the orchestra commented on the generosity of Canadians and the warm welcome they received everywhere they went.

A picture of the Recycled Orchestra, Landfill Harmonic from Paraguay

A special thank you goes out to our sponsors and supporters:

Faith 94.3 FM, Waterloo
Waterloo Baptist Church
The Wiebes
UMEI Christian High School
Bethany Church
CHVN 95.1 FM
Canadian Mennonite University
Investment Planning Counsel
Herb and Erna Buller
Regehr’s Printing
MBCI
Boge & Boge
North Kildonan MB Church
Lakeview Insurance Company
Westwood Community Church
Decor Cabinet Company
Winkler MB Church
950 CFAM
Steinbach Mennonite Church
1250 AM
Steinbach Arts Council
Rosthern Junior College
SARCAN Recycling
Town of Rosthern
Eigenheim Mennonite Church
Ten Thousand Villages Saskatoon
Willingdon Community Church
Black Press
Peace Portal Alliance
Columbia Cabinets
Abbotsford Youth Orchestra
Central Heights Church
Best Western Regency Inn Abbotsford
Broadway Church

In The News

A picture of children at the Emanuel Dacyare in Asuncion, Paraguay

Rossana’s story

Rossana’s son is able to attend Kindergarten thanks to a generous donor who is funding his scholarship. She recently wrote this letter to thank the sponsors:

My life has completely changed since my children started attending Kindergarten. Let me explain what I mean by that.

Before Jose was taken care of during the day, I was in a deep depression and felt all alone. I’m a single mom of four children. I work hard, but my job doesn’t pay enough to make ends meet.

Our home situation is very complicated. We are currently living with my mom in her house. My mom is an alocholic, and we are constantly living in fear of her violent outbursts.

Jose is especially affected by this, and I am very worried about the emotional damage and abuse he is going through.

Now that Jose is going to Kindergarten, I can go to work every day knowing that he is in a safe environment where he is loved. You see, Jose also has a learning disability and needs special attention and care, something very hard to find in other schools.

On Sundays I take my children to church and meet up with other families I have met through Jose’s Kindergarten class. We often talk about how different our life could be.

I dream of a better future for my children.

Thanks to the scholarship, I can save a little bit of money every month to move into our own place.

Thank you so much for helping Jose and our family! I couldn’t do this without your help.

Please pray for my family — that we may be able to find our own place to live, and that my children can grow up in a more peaceful environment.

-Rossana

Osven’s story

At only nine years old, Osven and his four siblings became homeless orphans on the streets of Asuncion, Paraguay.

For the next few years they found refuge in abandoned buildings and slum shacks. Then, one day, an outreach worker from the Integrated Children’s Centre found Osven and his siblings.

They started living at the shelter, where Osven began his long journey from street child to Master’s Degree graduate and youth pastor.

Recycled Orchestra coming to Canada

We’re excited to announce that we have recently partnered with the community of Cateura, Paraguay and will be going on a tour across Canada with the Recycled Orchestra next year to raise funds for the community!

Cateura is a community of shacks built on a landfill, and the slum is considered among the poorest in South America. More than 2,500 families live directly by the landfill, picking garbage to find sellable or recyclable goods.

But in the middle of all the rubble lies hope.

Playing instruments made from trash found in the landfill, The Recycled Orchestra is a full-fledged orchestra proving the world that despite their circumstances, they have something beautiful to offer.

“The world sends us garbage, but we send back music,” says Favio Chavez, director of the orchestra.

“People are starting to realized that we shouldn’t throw trash away careless. People are also starting to realize we shouldn’t throw people away carelessly.”

Generation Rising Commits To Build Community Centre, Start Scholarships

After meeting with stakeholders and families in Cateura, we have committed to partner with the community to build a Community Centre together and start a scholarship fund so youth in the area have a chance to get a post-secondary education.

The Community Centre will act as a social hub in the neighbourhood, offering workshops and courses to the families. The centre will also have space for The Recycled Orchestra to practice, and offer music classes for children interested in learning an instrument.

We see this as a long-term partnership with the Cateura community.

There is a dire need for schools in the area, as most teachers and organizations aren’t willing to enter the slum.

Together with you, our hope is to one day build a school in Cateura so children growing up on the landfill can break the cycle of poverty and get a quality, Christ-centered education.