Ten kilometres east of Paraguay’s capital, Asunción, the city of Luque extends from the Ypacaraí Lake to the western bank of the Paraguay River. It is home to 264,000 inhabitants, making it the third most populated city in the country.
Here, in the Gran Asunción metropolitan area where one in three Paraguayans lives, there is a real lack of social support for families in need so that they can ensure a better future for their children.
Since 1997, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Luque.
In Paraguay, the youngest members of a family often have to contribute financially, and 5% of children between the ages of 10 and 14 are working – most of them in the services or the agriculture industries.
Limited funding for law enforcement agencies and social programs hinders the government’s ability to fully address the worst forms of child labour, and this exposes children to threats such as health hazards, vulnerability to violence, sexual exploitation and psychological problems. But child labour also has severe effects on their lives in the long-term, interfering with education and jeopardizing their chances as adults.
In Paraguay, in 2020, the infant mortality rate, which is the probability of dying between birth and one year of age expressed per thousand live births, was 16 per thousand.
This number reflects the social, economic and environmental conditions in which children and parents live, including their health care. From the end of the neonatal period through the first five years of life, the main causes of death are pneumonia, diarrhea, birth defects and malaria. Malnutrition is a contributing factor, making children more vulnerable to diseases. Accessing health care, especially postnatal care for mothers and babies, is crucial.