|Sign welcoming visitors to Tobati, Paraguay|
Tobatí is both a town and a provincial district within the department (state) of Cordillera, Paraguay. The population of the district of Tobatí is 21,315 of which 16,538 (75.5%) are under the age of 19. Over 33% of this population lives beneath the international poverty line while as high as 70% live in relative poverty. A large percentage of the houses in the region lack running water and electricity. This poverty is especially prevalent in the region's rural villages, known as compañías. Most men and boys in the region work in small brick or
tile factories that pay a dollar or two per day. A large number of girls work as domestic servants. Schools run in three or four hour shifts in order to allow for children to work and also due to overpopulation and a lack of resources in the local schools. Many children in Tobatí are employed.
|Child in rural Tobati 2002|
Tobatí's small medical clinic, like all public healthcare facilities in Paraguay, struggles with a lack of federal funding and a shortage in basic supplies and medicines. The people of Tobatí in large part cannot afford to purchase medicine or travel to hospitals in the cities for better care. Malnutrition and parasitosis are common amongst the region's
rural poor. Due to economic challenges and inadequate schooling, very few students from this region are able to go on to college in Caacupe or Asuncion. Team Tobatí works to strengthen the medical and educational infrastructures so that the poor of the region can obtain a higher standard of living.
|Children at brick factory in San Jose Obrero neighborhood|
Tobatí is situated 70 kilometers to the east of Asuncion and 10 miles north of Caacupe. The town of Tobatí is made up of 15 neighborhoods or barrios while the district includes an additional 22 rural communities or compañías.
The 15 barrios are San Miguel, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose, Virgen de Fatima, San Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz, Santa Teresita, Virgen del Rosario, San Pedro, Santa Lucia, San Blas, Villa Artesanal, Villa Jazmin, and Maria Auxiliada. The 21 compañías are Potrero "Zona" A, 21 de Julio, Potrero "Zona" B, Santo Tomas, San Rafael, 4 Viento, Santa Rosalia, Punta del Este, Villa de las Mercedes, Mompox, Santa Rosa, Ensenada, Loma Verde, Costa Alegre, Capitan Caballero, Isla Florida, Aparypy, Santo Domingo, Rosado, Jhuybaty, Isla Guazu, and Santa Rosa.
|Small house next to brick factory 2003|
People and places of Tobati
Photos taken by team members 1999-2001
Poor Tobati Neighborhodds
Photos of team members distributing clothes and toys.
Article on rural Paraguay
Essay written by the OAS on poverty in Paraguay
|IN THIS SECTION|
Tobati is 10 miles north of Caacupe
Geography: California-size Paraguay is surrounded by Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina in south-central South America. Eastern Paraguay, between the Paraná and Paraguay Rivers, is upland country with the thickest population settled on the grassy slope that inclines toward the Paraguay River. The greater part of the Chaco region to the west is covered with marshes, lagoons, dense forests, and jungles.
Population (2002 est.): 5,884,491 (growth rate: 2.6%);
Languages: Spanish (official), Guaraní
Ethnicity/Race: mestizo (mixed Spanish and Indian) 95%, whites plus Amerindians 5%
Religion: Roman Catholic 90%