Caritas Paraguay started out in 1958 as an international channel to assist those most in need socially and economically, mainly inspired by the resolutions of the Latin American Bishops who meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1955.
Caritas Paraguay began with the United States aid programme, involving delivery of food, clothing, medicines and labour. Over the years the organisation has strengthened its structure and been receptive to social change, via programmes that address the new faces of poverty that have appeared in society: people deprived of their liberty, the homeless, immigrants and small farmers.
In 1982, after deep reflection on the role of Caritas, it was decided to shift the focus of its efforts and the name Caritas was changed to Pastoral Social Nacional, as the objective of helping those most in need was taking on a new form that was more committed to shaping awareness, community organisation and promotion of grassroots groups. However, the international name of Caritas Paraguay was maintained.
Paraguay is undergoing a deep political, economic and social crisis, with a substantial increase in poverty and widespread corruption. It is one of the Latin American countries with the highest levels of human mobility, which is particularly intense along the borders with Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina.
Every year Caritas Paraguay conducts a Lent campaign, and has launched an emergency appeal for flooding in the region of Chaco. It also supports the training of pastoral workers and young people, in the interests of civic responsibility.
Caritas Paraguay has received support from other members of the Caritas confederation, such as Caritas Spain, and maintains close ties with other organisations, including: Adveniat, the Paraguayan Human Rights Coordinating Committee (CODEHUPY), the Social Action Department (SAS), the Directorate of Public Welfare and Social Assistance (DIBEN) and the National Emergency Department (SEN).
Humanity isn’t made up of the most powerful leaders, the richest people or the people who shout the loudest. Caritas has created a giant collage of faces which includes many different and contrasting faces as part of its Share the Journey campaign on the culture of encounter.
More than 400 people from 146 Caritas organisations gathered in Rome for the 21st Caritas General Assembly, an event designed for delegates to come together in solidarity and decide new ways to serve the most vulnerable around the world.
The Venezuela food crisis is affected people in unexpected ways. Not only has it left thousands of people hungry and many children at risk of malnutrition - it's now threatening the production of communion hosts. Nuns in Caracas tell us how people are so hungry they're eating the scraps from making the communion host.