Vulnerable children overcoming malnutrition in Paraguay

Every day, about 100 children visit the Open Centre in our CMAVIL site in Paraguay. The centre offers social recreation, after-school homework assistance, and a lunch program.   

Evelin is a three-year-old child who lives with her mom, Diana, and two older sisters. “Evelin is the youngest of the three,” Sr. Miguela describes, “and when we enrolled her in the {sponsorship} program she had mild malnutrition.” Diana raises the girls alone, doing her best to provide for them as a housecleaner. Despite her best efforts, “they are a family of very limited resources,” Sr. Miguela writes.  

What is the Open Centre?

It is exactly for families just like Evelin’s, that the CMAVIL site runs the ‘Open Centre.’  Diana’s girls can go to the Open Centre for homework help, for a nutritious meal, or to just be in a supportive environment. Most children are also from single parent households; and many mothers, like Diana, struggle with food insecurity.  

Many children that attend the Open Centre suffered from malnutrition. Working under Sr. Miguela’s direction, the Open Centre staff’s goal is to give the children and teens the material and social support they need to thrive in the classroom. To this end, they make the Centre a haven where children can access nutritious food, spiritual formation, and homework help. The meals and snacks are critical to the children’s success.   

The Open Centre’s cook prepares mid-morning meals, lunch, and snacks every school day. The staff monitors the attendance list, ensuring that the children are eating daily. They maintain communication with parents about their child’s progress, and visit their homes twice a year to see how things are going.  

“Currently Evelin is recovered and in very good health.”  

“At her young age, she is a very grateful child,” Sr. Miguela writes, and Evelin herself added that “she will have no problem when she goes to school.” 

Follow Chalice on Facebook and Instagram for daily updates from our sponsor sites, impact stories, and more!