Paraguay -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
Lidia Rosa Vasquez, 42, lives with her children in the slum area "La Chacarita" in Asuncion, Paraguay.
Beginning in 1996, a group of Mennonites started meeting with the dream of building houses. The seed sprouted …
In 1998, thanks to the initiative and perseverance of these first volunteers, Habitat for Humanity opened its doors in Paraguay.
In January 1999, the dream of carrying out the first land markings to begin building the first three houses becomes true, in Puerto Botánico, Trinidad. Six months later, in July, the first houses were completed, and that same year, four more houses were begun in Limpio (about 15 kilometers from the capital).
Today, hundreds of families have abandoned their shacks to live in a new house built with HFH in the Central, Presidente Hayes, Concepcion and Encarnacion departments.
These families live in houses with two bedrooms, a living-dining room, a kitchen, a bathroom and a laundry area. The houses are built with hollow brick walls, a tile roof, a polished cement floor, electric wiring and running water. On average, a house costs US$5,650; the non-profit loan is financed at 5 or 7 years. Families pay yearly on average US$250, which is equivalent to about US$21 a month, an amount that represents 12.7 percent of the current minimum wage. This monthly payment represents a lower cost than what is normally paid for renting a house in poor conditions.
Housing needs in Paraguay have increased in the same proportion as the demographic growth. From 1992 to 2002, the population increased by 71 percent.
Out of the 1,098,820 houses identified in the 2002 census, 116,240 are inadequate structures, with their inhabitants living in deficient conditions.
Forty-seven percent of the population has no water service, and in rural zones the percentage drops down to 22.6 percent. Only 10 percent of the houses with toilets are connected to the public sewage network.
In the main cities, such as the capital Asuncion, one out of three families rents a house or lives in a borrowed one. This situation forces families with low economic resources to pay a 50 percent security deposit, plus two months in advance.
Source: General Statistics, Surveys and Census Division,2002.
Location: South America
Climate: varies from temperate in the east to semiarid in the far west
Economy: industries include meat packing, oilseed crushing, milling, brewing, textiles and other light consumer goods
Religion: predominantly Christian
Literacy: 90 percent
Languages: Spanish (75 percent of the population speaks Guarani)