Pastoral del Nino: Bringing the abundant life to Paraguayan children

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Young Children


National Association for the Education of Young Children

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Pastoral del Nino is transforming children's lives in rural Paraguay. Part of Pastoral Social (Catholic Social Services), Pastoral del Nino's primary focus is to bring "vida en abundancia" (the abundant life) to families by ensuring that mothers survive childbirth and children reach their first birthdays. In addition, the organization promotes child health and development in the context of family and community. Pastoral del Nino began in Paraguay in 1995 and operates almost entirely through the help of local volunteers, who are also called community leaders. Three thousand volunteers strong today, the organization serves nearly four thousand families each year. Services are delivered on the village level by community leaders. Pastoral del Nino programs (1) are financially feasible; (2) encourage community-wide participation; (3) build local capacity; (4) address multiple levels of child development; and (5) strengthen families and communities. Taken together, these five components result in Pastoral's success each year in reaching more than ten thousand rural Paraguayan children whose families are poor. The program strengthens families and communities and promotes solutions that build local capacity for self-help and problem solving.

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