Located in the Itapúa department, Hohenau has a population of around 11,000 inhabitants. Its sub-tropical climate is ideal for agriculture, on which the economy relies– whether that is soya, wheat and cotton farming or cattle raising.
However, poverty has been increasing in rural areas. This is partly because of the concentration of land ownership in few hands, leaving insufficient land to the subsistence farmers to provide for their families.
Since 1973, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Hohenau.
Access to education is a challenge in rural parts of Paraguay, where 25% of young people are out of school – for comparison, that number stands at 12% in urban areas. In Hohenau, many people only speak the indigenous language Guaraní at home – that means that if their children do not attend school, they can end up excluded from economic and political processes later in life. No matter what their family situation is, children and young people need support so that they can stay in school and be equipped with the skills that are necessary to fully participate in society.
Health care in Paraguay is also a great concern – in fact, almost half of the population does not have access to it, and up to 33% of Paraguayans are using basic sanitation services that are shared with other households.
Poor sanitation is a major factor in spreading several tropical diseases and contributes to malnutrition. Better water, sanitation, and hygiene are needed for children to grow up healthy and to improve their chances as adults.