Friendship Mission Update Report
Read the latest report from Friendship Mission in Paraguay.
Friendship Mission in Paraguay was founded in 1953 by the United Christian Missionary Society (predecessor of the Division of Overseas Ministries/Global Ministries) and by graduates of the International School in Paraguay, the first Disciple mission in Paraguay, founded in 1917. The original purpose of Friendship Mission was to attend to needs of the urban poor living near the Mission and in Asuncion, the capital city of Paraguay.
In the 1960’s Friendship Mission grew in vitality and the reach of its programs expanded. Besides offering basic social services to poor families, Friendship Mission began the first School for the Deaf in Paraguay. The Friendship Mission Clinic was an important program founded in this period, along with educational opportunities for community children and adults.
Today Friendship Mission is actively engaged in programs which are critical to the community. In 2011, Friendship Mission worked with street children providing medical, dental, x-ray and laboratory services to approximately 556 children, teens, and parents who do not have access to healthcare. Plans call for an agreement to be signed annually to ensure sustainability of the program and to provide comprehensive health services, education, recreation, and religious guidance to these street children.
A stimulation diagnostic and child neurodevelopment center was implemented and served a total of 899 children with disabilities and their parents in 2011. The implementation of this center has provided staff much pleasure in seeing how parents of children with disabilities respond well when they are treated naturally and professionally by specialists. Friendship Mission faces a challenge for the future to generate enough resources to cover this large population and include formal education for these special children. Friendship Mission hopes to intensify its activities in this area within the framework of inclusive education, conduct training to professionals working with these special children (health professionals; teachers in schools and colleges; and the parents, families, and caregivers). They also hope to continue to expand the resources in order to reach more of these children.
The Polyclinic is one of the pillars of the work of Friendship Mission. Along with respect for the essential rights of all persons, Friendship Mission fulfills the responsibilities of prevention, promotion, and treatment for its users. With the adoption of new attitudes and practices of modern therapeutic approaches that fully reflect their values, these guiding principles and rules form the basis for this faith-based institution in the promotion of health, education, and personal and social development. Thanks to the values of participating professionals, the Polyclinic provides a high level of services in various specialties, even with the limited equipment in areas of ultrasound, dentistry, and radiology. These professionals have formed teams that are made available to the Friendship Mission Polyclinic in order to provide these services to the patients.
Friendship Mission hopes gradually to replace some of its more obsolete medical equipment (ultrasound, dentistry, and radiology equipment) and acquire the equipment that they do not have at the present time (electrocardiograph, echocardiograph, and mammography).
Friendship Mission faces a great challenge to provide and/or promote quality education to students in need at low cost in order for them to participate in the world today. To this end, Friendship Mission hopes to offer updated information through a computerized, multimedia library. The plan is to provide multimedia computers and Internet access in the library and to manage resources in order to provide educational support for more students.
Friendship Mission continues to be a beacon of hope to all who are part of their program – those who participate in serving as well as those who are served.