It was 5PM in Queens, New York when I made my way to John F Kennedy Airport en route to Asuncion, Paraguay to serve as an Accion Ambassador at Fundacion Paraguaya. One layover in Sao Paolo and two more flights later I arrived in Asuncion at approximately at 12 PM. A feeling of lethargy was accompanied by a strong desire to sleep after that 19 hours of travel. I was not expecting to be taken into an office for a four-hour briefing about my assignment straight from the airport!
I was given three documents upon arrival to Fundacion Paraguaya’s main office located about thirty minutes from Silvio Pettirossi International Airport. The first document was a contract between Fundacion Paraguaya and myself. The second was a 140-page document written in Spanish containing a five-year plan to “eliminate poverty” in the entire country and I was required to read it in one day. The third document contained a description of my objectives and methods of achieving them.
The very ambitious APEX plan (the plan decrypted in the 140-page document) aims to eliminate poverty for over 205,000 families consisting of more than 2,100,000 people (32% of the Paraguayan population) between 2013 and 2015. Out of those 2,100,000 living in poverty, 1,200,000 of them are believed to live under extreme destitution (18% of the population). If the plan succeeds, Paraguay will make a 180-degree turn as the 2nd poorest nation in South America to one that is not poor at all. The plan’s viability depends on a coalition between Fundacion Paraguaya, other local NGO’s, local corporations, the Paraguayan government, and the international community. Continue Reading →