Spotlight on CIRD, Paraguay:
Community Kitchens Serve as an Incentive for Tutoring
 Photo 1
Second grade students during class
August, 2005. Like in most capital cities throughout Latin America, Asunción has a high rate of child labor, many of whom work in the worst forms of child labor such as domestic service, commercial sexual exploitation, and street workers. The Makaí Community Center of Luque, Paraguay is located in an impoverished suburban area of the capital and work with these children. Because of their location, the majority of the girls and boys that attend the tutoring activities are also beneficiaries of the Center’s community kitchen. One of the reasons the parents send their children to the center is because they have the opportunity to have a decent meal.

Unfortunately, it is getting harder to maintain this service, due to the number of needy children and the rising cost of basic foods. All of the children who attend the Center have the opportunity to participate in the government’s “Vaso de Leche” [Glass of Milk] program. However, the program cannot afford to support all children’s lunch, so a survey is being conducted to evaluate the level of malnutrition or risk of malnutrition of children that attend.

To confront this critical situation, a local community group has decided to loan some land to the center for a community garden. Currently, religious women and teachers work together to care for the crops. All products of the garden go the community kitchen and contribute a great deal to the sustainability of the endeavor – As a result, children are being properly fed while in school, which provides a strong assistance for families and improves children’s assistance.