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).
Overcrowding inside prison facilities has been a big push factor for the spread of the coronavirus. The lives of prisoners were already very difficult due to lack of food, poor infrastructure, healthcare and basic services.