San Lorenzo (Paraguay). In response to the increase in post-pandemic poverty in the country, since the beginning of 2023, Mary Help of Christians Foundation of St. Gabriel Archangel Province (PAR), which promotes actions to prevent and overcome situations of threat or violation of human rights, in particular of children, adolescents, and women, took over the management of a sewing workshop.

Auxiliadora Confecciones Workshop – which is located in San Lorenzo at the Roberta Integral Promotion Center, annexed to the Mornese House managed by the FMA Sacred Heart Community,  is part of the accompaniment and support proposals for the social and missionary works of the Salesian Sisters, who take care of the integral education of eleven populations of indigenous people of the Paraguayan Chaco, offering protection and accompaniment to minors in the Centers and job training in various parts of the country, in collaboration with government agencies.

In line with the choices of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, which undertakes to “promote solidarity and a sustainable economy through the sharing of resources and skills” (cf. Acts GC XXIV), the FMA of the PAR Province seek to make this objective concrete in their context, giving life to work, educational, and social projects to allow women access to the world of work, guaranteeing sustainability and social protection to the populations with whom they work in Social Works, Centers, and in the indigenous communities.

The choice of the sewing workshop is due to the fact that it is a job opportunity that can be satisfied quickly and that the request for uniforms and other items of clothing by schools is continuous.

“At the same time, we believe that this initiative can generate resources to partially guarantee the continuity of the integral accompaniment of the beneficiary communities,” explains Sister Maria Graciela Fernandez, General Director of the Mary Help of Christians Foundation and responsible for the Project.

At the Workshop that on 11 April 2023, received a visit from Sister Ruth del Pilar Mora, Visiting Councilor of the FMA Institute, two women are employed full-time, while the coordination is entrusted to an FMA. Agreements have also been signed with three private sewing workshops, managed by female entrepreneurs, for the production of clothing on a large scale.

Currently, 80% of the educational works of the FMA in Paraguay benefit from the services of the Workshop, which at the same time is opening up to local markets, reaching other Institutions, and groups that request them. Since January 2023, thousands of student uniforms have been made and distributed throughout the country.

“We want to highlight the support of individuals and groups of volunteers, and of the NGO VidesSur for the technical support, consultancy, and promotion of projects to obtain funding for the implementation of the workshop. Together and in synodality, we can make our world a place to live in fraternity, collaboration, and solidarity” concludes Sr. Maria Graciela.



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