Paraguay is the fastest-growing country in the Americas, but its economic success exists only in pockets: more than 30 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty.
Despite its growing agriculture sector and a sharp rise in export commodities like beef, soybeans and wheat, Paraguay ranks near the bottom among South American countries in reducing poverty over the last decade.
Land concentration in the Paraguayan countryside is one of the highest in the globe: 10% of the population controls 66% of the land, while 30% of the rural people are landless.
Many parents in our programs work long hours for low pay to make ends meet. Many men work as street vendors, bricklayers, plumbers, or recyclers in local garbage dumps. Some women find employment as maids or street vendors.
Even with both parents working, many families are forced to live in cramped quarters or with relatives. We often see a family of seven or more living in a one-room house made of scrap metals, plywood and other materials.
Families often lack access to basic services like health care and education.
With the growing economy there are now, for the first time, opportunities for low-income people to move forward – but even in Paraguay a quality secondary education and vocational training is a must for anybody who wants to find stable employment.
Historically, Paraguay has not valued education highly. While the government provides public education, many children are not able to attend because their families need them to bring in extra income, there are no schools in their area or the cost of uniforms, textbooks and supplies is simply too much.
The students who do attend government schools often get a poor education because classrooms are overcrowded, teachers are under qualified, underpaid and unmotivated, schools lack adequate resources and the infrastructure is crumbling. In addition, the dropout rate remains very high.
Our Work Here
Grades: Daycare – Grade 9
La Amistad School
Location: Puerto Botanico
Grades: Daycare – Grade 6
Location: San Lorenzo
Grades: Kindergarten – Grade 9
Piedra Viva School
Location: San Lorenzo
Grades: Kindergarten – Grade 3
Cateura Community Education Centre (Recycled Orchestra)
Grades: Music programs for children ages 6-18