In southern Paraguay, in the Misiones department, San Ignacio is home to 36,000 inhabitants. Commerce, cattle and agriculture, specifically the growing of tobacco and soya, are key to the economy here.
But the country’s economic reliance on agriculture makes it vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Intense rainfalls and droughts are increasingly common and have a negative impact on all sectors, particularly in rural areas.
Since 1989, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in San Ignacio.
In the countryside, 35% of people are living in poverty, with 12 % living in extreme poverty, which means that their income cannot cover the cost of a basket of food.
In San Ignacio and other rural areas, the living conditions of thousands of families are becoming increasingly precarious. As a result, many children work to contribute to the family income. It can also have severe effects on the well-being of the parents and on the way they treat their children. Across the country, over half of the children experience some form of abuse at home, whether physical or psychological.
More than 5% of Paraguayan children aged 10 to 14 working, and 53% of them work in agriculture.
Children from rural and indigenous communities have difficulty accessing and completing education, including language barriers and inadequate facilities.
Another common practice is the so-called criadazgo, in which wealthy families informally employ children as domestic workers from low-income families. Many of these children are in domestic servitude and subject to violence and abuse.