Itauguá is a small city located just outside Paraguay’s capital city of Asunción. It is known for its fine artwork and vibrant folkloric music, and the people of Itauguá are a tight-knit and friendly community. The weather is warm year-round and can get very hot in the summer months.
The Good Shepherd Sisters have had a presence in the community for years, and they’ve developed several programs to minister to women, children, and adolescents. Together with a staff of dozens of lay people, they run a community center that runs a variety of programs outlined below. There are two volunteers in Itauguá, and they have the opportunity to work in any of these programs.
The sisters in Paraguay work with an international aid agency that links donors from Canada with children in the community. This program supports hundreds of children in Itauguá and nearby communities through funding for necessity items like school supplies, medicines, and clothing. The children and donors keep in touch with one another through letters and photos.
Tekojoja Kuña Rembiapópe
This is a fair trade craft program that allows women to use their creative energy and talents to share their crafts through the Sisters’ networks in Australia, England, and the United States (called HandCrafting Justice in the U.S.). The traditional craft in Itauguá is “Ñanduti”, beautiful intricate designs made from thread and linen. Many women sell their Ñanduti and clothing that they make through HandCrafting Justice in the U.S. The sisters in Itauguá also work with the Maka, an indigenous community outside of Asuncion in this fair trade program.
Club de Niños
A club for young children in the community from ages 6-12. The club includes educational opportunities and activities around hygiene, respecting self and others, self-esteem, and understanding the diversity in community. These classes on values provide the opportunity for the children to get to know one another and also provides as a support group and a safe space where they can talk about issues and concerns.
A small trade school that reaches out to adolescents in the community. The Taller provides medical and psychological attention to the youth and also there are workshops, tutoring, and recreational activities.
The sisters interact with community members not only at the Obra Social, but through going out into the different neighborhoods for home visits. By getting to know the community in a different way, the sisters are able to better minister to their needs.