Our Affiliated Project: The Asunción School in Asunción, Paraguay


facts about the Asunción School:

  • Grade-level served: Kindergarten – ninth grade
  • Facility description: A large building in need of further expansion, including classrooms, a dining hall and a commons area.
  • Education: In addition to core academic subjects, instruction emphasizes moral guidance and includes such skills as home economics, tailoring, computer skills and sewing.
  • Academic year: Typically begins in late February and ends in November. Students enjoy summer break from early December through mid-February, as well as a two-week winter break in July.
  • Nutrition: Children receive — and often help prepare — nutritious meals each day.
  • Medical care: Children’s health is closely monitored, and medical and dental care are provided free of charge at a local hospital.

Nestled in the heart of South America, Paraguay comprises an area roughly the size of California, and is characterized by semiarid grasslands, forested highlands, marshlands and rivers. Paraguay boasts a well-preserved indigenous identity and heritage, but a wide range of ethnicities call this small, landlocked nation home, including immigrants from Australia, Germany, Russia, Italy, France and Spain.

Paraguay’s rich cultural diversity and wealth of natural resources, however, belie the abject poverty in which the majority of its residents live. Many areas of the country remain underdeveloped, with inhabitants relying on subsistence farming for livelihood. Today, one of South America’s poorest nations, Paraguay is plagued by a history of bloody wars with neighboring countries as well as internal political instability, corruption, deficient infrastructure and poverty. Even the sprawling Paraguayan capital, Asunción, is no exception to these maladies.

For this reason, nuns of the Order of St. Vincent de Paúl established the Asunción School (or, as it is known locally, Santa Luisa de Marillac) to serve the impoverished children of one of Asunción’s poorest neighborhoods. Many of these children suffer from neglect and malnutrition as a direct result of their parents’ poverty. The Asunción School truly serves as a beacon of hope, providing these deserving children with the basic needs, moral guidance and well-rounded education that may help them rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they come.