Centro Pa'i Puku

Centro Pa'i Puku is a center for integral education for children 5 to 18 years old. The location of the center is exceptional: in the southern part of the Chaco, 156 km from the capital and 100 km from civilization. The area is sparsely populated and the Chaqueños usually work for a hunger wage as herdsmen with large landowners.

The more than 400 children come from all corners of the Chaco and stay for 9 months at school, with a short vacation of 2 weeks halfway through the year.

Education is not only focused on general knowledge. All young people also receive vocational training (woodworking, electricity, plumbing, cut and seam, cooking ...) and follow health education.

The children go to school for half a day, and they take on all kinds of of additional tasks for the community in small work groups: they bake bread, help in the kitchen and do the dishes, do laundry and ironing, work in the vegetable garden and the butcher shop or look after the small cattle and the cows. They learn all kinds of technical skills but also take responsibility, cooperate, and show respect for the work of others. Educators guide them in this task.

The entire school team is of Paraguay origin, and often they are former students. The center  started in 1965 and was supported for years by Piet Shaw (+1984) and Chris Geersens (+2016).

Education is subsidized by the government in Paraguay. But the center itself has to find funds for the boarding school. They do this by producing and selling their own furniture, cheese, clothing and setting up sponsorship campaigns.

From Belgium we try to contribute to the wage cost of educators. In addition, we want to give every child the opportunity to follow education and training at the center. Parents pay a maximum of € 30 per month, while the total cost is € 70. Parents often cannot pay their contribution due to illness, unemployment or underpayment. We support these disadvantaged families from Belgium.

If there are specific material needs for new construction or repairs, or for health care (eg consultations with a doctor), we also seek financial resources for this.

Centro Pa'i Puku, Burgstraat 26, 8460 Oudenburg.