Providing food to children in need as part of our work goes beyond just ensuring that kids have meals while they are at school. Oftentimes, children both in the United States and abroad also need food to take home so that they and their families don’t go hungry on nights and weekends. So every month, the volunteer coordinators at our affiliated projects in Paraguay, the Hogar Medalla Milagrosa and the Asuncion School, give our sponsored and unsponsored children a bag of food to take home. The bags contain dry goods such as flour, sugar, bread, and pasta so that the families can make meals at home.
Nestled in the heart of South America, Paraguay comprises an area roughly the size of California, characterized by semiarid grasslands, forested highlands, marshlands, and rivers. Paraguay boasts a well-preserved indigenous identity and heritage, but a wide range of ethnicities call this small landlocked nation home, including immigrants from Australia, Germany, Russia, Italy, France, and Spain. Paraguay’s rich cultural diversity and wealth of natural resources, however, belie the abject poverty in which the majority of its residents live.
Many areas of the country remain underdeveloped, with inhabitants relying on subsistence farming for their livelihood. One of South America’s poorest nations today, Paraguay is plagued by a history of bloody wars with neighboring countries as well as by internal political instability, corruption, a deficient infrastructure, and poverty. Even the sprawling Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, is no exception to these maladies.
Introducing the Hogar Medalla Milagrosa
Located in Asuncion, the Hogar Medalla Milagrosa serves as a beacon of hope for impoverished children, most of whom come from the streets or broken homes, where obtaining food is a daily struggle. Founded in 1895 and run by the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, the home serves as a primary school and boarding home for orphaned and abandoned children. The nuns not only strive to provide for these deserving children’s immediate basic needs, but they also offer them moral guidance while equipping students with a sound education.
The Asuncion School
The Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul established the Asuncion School - or, as it is known locally, Santa Luisa de Marillac - to serve children living in poverty in one of Asuncion’s poorest neighborhoods. Many of these children suffer from neglect and malnutrition as a direct result of their parents’ poverty. The Asuncion School truly serves as a beacon of hope to help them to rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they come, and to have the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.