For people living in rural Paraguay, life is hard. In the last two decades since military dictatorship, Paraguay’s political history has included money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations.
Growing up in Paraguay means needing to find a way to live and to survive the corruption of others. Common people can feel powerless to improve their life by honest means.
This is the sad reality of approximately 320,000 people that live in the countryside of Paraguay. A large number of the population is farmers who often do not produce enough to be independent. Many struggle to cover their most basic needs, most of which is food.
As a result, individuals and families have been migrating to the urban centers; hoping to find a better life. Instead they find the same issues - poverty and unemployment.
Unable to move again, most people take up residence in Barrio Obrero, a neighborhood within the capital that has a population of approximately 20,000 people. Known as one of the most dangerous area in the country, individuals get stuck in this community and children often resort to a life of crime.
Concerned about preparing these children for a better life and keeping them off the streets, we partnered with Jésus Respondé (a local non-profit Paraguayan organization) to develop a comprehensive strategy.
As a first step, local churches came together to build Community Centres throughout the country.
Considered as “beacons of hope” for thousands of children, these centers often provide a hub of local activity and a safe haven for underprivileged kids and orphans.
At each center, approximately 25,442 children
- receive a healthy meal three times a week (with the help of our partner Fraser Valley Gleaners, we have sent 17 containers of dehydrated soup mix, totaling over 17 million servings of food),
- play sports and games (with the help of Athletes in Action (AIA) in conducting soccer clinics and skills training), and
- receive spiritual care (with the help of AIA, DRIME and JESUS Film Church Planting Strategy).
Awana (a children’s discipleship program, also well-known throughout North America) is being run in Community Centres to assist in the ongoing “spiritual nutrition” of the children whose lives we are impacting. This program continues to expand and has seen a growth in attendance. Today, approximately 9,440 children are being ministered to through the Awana program.
As the children’s needs are being met, families are being impacted too!
- FamilyLife is helping with the broken marriages through seminars
- women are learning vocational skills as well as getting connected to Diaconia - a local organization that provides training programs and micro-credit to the poor
Today, there are 446 Community Centres, majority of which are in the Greater Asuncion area.
With an objective of creating a community impact that reaches as many people as possible, both physically and spiritually it will be difficult for Jésus Respondé to do this alone.
Therefore, for an investment of only $840 per Community Center per year, you can help thousands of children and their families.
Will you partner will us and help demonstrate God’s love to the hurting and needy families in Paraguay?