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aid already provided

During our first visit to the Center in 2007, we had observed that the quantity and quality of the food given to the residents, was extremely spartan. The drinking water - rainwater kept in a cistern - was not of an acceptable quality. Back in Switzerland,  we decided to try our best to bring some material assistance to this school, by finding the funds required for specific aid projects, always well defined and budgeted in advance. Our aims / objectives were to upgrade the quality and quantity of food given to the residents, and to improve the quality of the drinking water. We then circulated a general information about the Center of Pa'i Puku, together with a photographic report, amongst our family and friends and did find the financing for a certain number of projects. The funds were remitted to the USD bank account of our colleague (and member of the Committee) in Asuncion, Eduardo Nüesch, who was then redirecting the same amounts at the daily exchange rate to the Center's bank account, in local currency, the guarani.

From 2010 onwards, we are dealing directly with the Center's Direction's Committee, by remitting agreed amounts, in Euros, to the Center's bank account at the Banco Regional in Encarnacion.

To replace Eduardo and Irma Nuesch, who have left Asuncion in 2011, we now have a new contact / consultant in Asuncion, a swiss Ing. Agronome, Werner Gerber, residing in Paraguay since about 40 years. M. Gerber serves us as our link with the Center and supervises from Asuncion, and on site, our various projects and reporting to us regularly. Since 2013, Mr Gerber has founded a NGO named Micro Empresas Lacteas (MICROLAC), active in the fields of milk and cheese production and other agricultural projects, this NGO has various mandates from the government of Paraguay. Thus we have now mandated this company, and not Mr Gerber himself, for the control and the follow-up of our activities at Pa'i Puku

In addtion, the president or a member of the committee of the Association, visits the Center once or twice a year (at their own expenses), ensuring that the defined projects have indeed been completed and are maintained, that the schoolchildren assisted through the Association are present at the school, etc. Thus we keep the exact control of the use of the funds sent to the Center.

To this date, we have completed the following projects:

- in 2007, the installation of 6 electric boilers, for the residents to have sufficient hot water in winter, when the outside temperature can go down to 4-5 degrees C. In summer, the boilers are not used, the temperature of the water is warm enough. (cost about 3'500 USD)

- in 2008-2009, the financing of a herd totalling 26 milk cows, this in order to replace the powdermilk by real milk, for the consumption of the residents. The cows were purchased "pregnant" and were first insiminated artificially, giving birth to a number of calves, which are either raised as milkcows - the females - , or sold - the males.. The artifical insemination being not quite successful, at a later stage, we also purchased a "toro". The fresh milk production of the herd, entirely consumed by the residents, amounts to an average of 6'000/ 8'000 liters per month, for the 26 cows, of which about half are "pregnant". (cost of one cow: about 1'200 USD)

- in 2009, the construction of three "fenced parks" for containing the cows in defined areas close to the school, this is to avoid that the cows stray too far away in the "Chaco". The fenced areas cover 24 hectares of grazing ground (costs about  4'500 USD)

- a system of "solar reflector" used to provide heat to the "irons" used by the children to iron their clothes. So far they were using hot charcoals to have warm irons. However this solution is only a half-measure, as the solar heat is only available when the sun is shining (cost about 500 USD).

- in 2010,  we purchased 5'000 m2 of black protective "shade", to cover the 4'500 m2 of vegetable gardens cultivated by the Center and its residents. The residents depend a lot from these gardens for their supply and consumption of fresh vegetable. The instalation of these shades allow to reduce the watering of the gardens, while at the same time increasing their production by about 25% (cost about 2'500 euros).

- in 2010, the installation of two systems of purification of the rain water which is stored in two concrete tanks of 55 cum. each, this water being used by the residents as "drinking water", for their own use and for the catering / kitchen. This water, which is accumulated during the rainy season, contained germs. The installation of these two systems, functionning on U/V light (ultra violet), renders the germs harmless and the drinking water is thus of better quality. The residents now fill their water bottles at the two taps available. Since the installation of the U/V filters, the gastro-intest. problems of the residents have been about halfed.  (costs: about 3'500 USD)

- from the year 2007 onwards, we have found "godparents" who acccept to participate to the schooling costs at the level of 60% of the total cost, for children who live in difficult family conditions, who are orphans or abandonned or whose parents cannot continue to pay their share of the schooling costs. In  April 2015, 47 schoolchildren - same number as in 2014 - received this financial aid, without which it is likely that they could not continue their education at the Center (cost per child per schoolyear: about 650 CHF).  In 2014 and 2015, 24'440 Euros have been sent to the Center for the 47 schoolchildren, In 2016, 38'280 Euros have been sent to the Center for the 66 schoolchildren with "godparents". In 2017, 33'420 Euros for 58 schoolchildren, in 2018, 22'000 Euros for 51 schoolchildren. These funds are mainly used to buy food and medicine for the 500 schollchildren living at the Center, and for specific objects or materials for the 66 scoolchildren with "godparents".

- in 2011, in co-operation with the swiss Embassy in Asuncion, and under the supervision of our consultant Gerber, we have built a Milk / Cheese factory, with a cold room to store the cheese and all equipments required to fabricate cheese from the milk produced at the Center. The aim was to better use the production of milk, which continues during the 3 months of "summer vacations" when most children are not at the Center. Cheese is thus made from the available milk, and stored in the cold room, for further comsumption by the residents during the 9-months schoolyear. We have also supplied a professionnal cheese-maker, for a 5 months period, to train personnel from the Center into a sound management of the milkcows and the fabrication of the cheese. (costs of the Milk / Cheese factory: about 40'000 CHF, 50/50 Swiss Embassy and our Association, Cost of the cheese.maker: 2'500 USD)      

- in 2012, we have financed the construction of a "tanque australiano", an open water tank of 18 m diameter and 300'000 ltrs capacity, collecting rain water from the roofs. The Center depends from reserves of rain water for their needs in fresh water (laundry, hygiene, toilets, kitchen, watering of the vegetables, fabrication of the cheese etc.). With this new "tanque", which bring their total reserves of fresh water at 1'800 mts, the Center should be able to go through the dry season without problems, which was not the case before .(costs: about 18'000 euros)

- in 2013, on the grounds on which we had a project of planting fruit trees, we have obtained and planted about 400 shrubs / bushes of "moringa" (moringa oleifera), this plant resist the Chaco's harsh climate and produce leaves which are protein-rich. These leaves are then collected / harvested and given to the cattle as complementary fodder. Thanks to a regular watering of the young plants during the dry summer period, these shrubs have grown well and now reach about 2 meters of height and harvesting of the leaves has already started.(cost: about 1'000 USD). (On account of a very rainy winter and excess water on the grounds of the plantation for about 3 months, the young shrubs / bushes of Moringa have perished  - the roots being rotten - and all bushes are lost. All has to be done again)

- in 2013 and 2014, due to a climate change in this part of the world, it has become necessary to cut and collect hay and stock it under cover, to be used as fodder in case of a long dry spell or too much rains. The year 2013 has been exceptionnally difficult - climate wise - in Paraguay and this part of South America, and all cattle and farm animals have suffered from lack of fodder. The milk production has fallen by 50%. In winter 2013, there were even sub-zero temperatures in the Chaco boreal and the grazing grounds have turned brownish. In summer 2013-2014, a dry spell has had the same effect on the grazing grounds, also in the Pai Puku area, and it was found necessary to bring hay and sugar cane leaves from far away, to feed the herd of 26 milk cows and their calves. We have thus financed the purchase of 4 agricultural machines to prepare the grounds, cut the hay and collect it, on certain areas of the school grounds. Only since December 2014 are we able to uses these machines correctly, this in view of the weather conditions. (Cost of the 4 machines: about 19'200 USD)

- in 2014, one of the schoolgirls,  aged 12 years old, suffering from birth from a strong strabism, and not having any family, parents or health insurance willing to pay for the cost of correcting this, together with the Center's managers, we have found an eye specialist in Asuncion who did a surgical intervention to correct the problem. This has been successfull and the young girl can now look straight ahead, although she will have to wear glasses for some time. (Cost about 1'400 Euros)

- from July to November 2015, we have tried to provide the Center with "fruits' pulp". The people living in this region do not eat any fruits. Fruit trees do not grow in this part of the "chaco", because the ground contains too much salt and there are long periods without rain, or on the contrary too much rain and flooding of the ground for weeks.  The idea is to buy "fruits' pulp" in the oriental part of Paraguay, where fruit trees grow naturally, all year round some kind of tropical fruits are ripe. Women from poor families organised in a Cooperative, collect these fruits and fabricate a kind of "pulp", which we buy and transfer to the Center which is about 300 km away, at a rate of 200 kg per month. This pulp is consumed in the center, either by mixing with the yoghurts twice a week, or with the bread at breakfast time. This pulp is very much appreciated by the residents, the majority of them had never eaten fruits before.... (cost 3'000 USD for 1'000 kg of pulp)

- in 2016, 2017 and 2018, we have continued with the supply of "fruits' pulp" at the rate of 200 kg per month, 10 months per year. The 20kg containers of pulp transit from the Oriente to the coldroom of our consultant Gerber in Asuncion, and are picked up by the Center's minibus once a week. (cost of the pulp: 6'500 CHF per year.) We have secured the financing for the pulp for the first 6 months of 2019 and are looking to complete these funds for the full year. From 2020 onwards, we have agreed with the Managers that the cost of the pulp will be financed by the profits of the Farm.