Queen Letizia of Spain’s second day of the Paraguay visit ended with a very busy schedule and a lunch with President and First Lady. Letizia was visiting the South American country to learn about the work that Spanish Cooperation develops in Paraguay in the areas of health, education, culture, and women.
The day began with a visit to the Bañado Sur Family Attention Center, a center dedicated to the prevention, care, and dignity of women and girls victims of sexual violence and trafficking, located in one of the territories of the poverty belt of Asuncion.
During her visit to the center, The Queen held a working meeting with representatives of the NGOs participating in the project and toured an exhibition with handicrafts made with recycled materials. Then Letizia, accompanied by the coordinator of the center, visited the nursery area and activity yard and the area of workshops for personal development and self-esteem.
The Bañado Sur Family Care Center develops three lines of work: the first to strengthen women’s access to economic resources and citizen participation; the second that girls, boys, adolescents, and young women are free from all types of violence; and the third, improving access to vocational training and decent employment through an inclusive and differential approach.
Spain’s solidarity with Bañado Sur has a long history. This project is carried out by Women in Conflict Zone, AIETI, and Plan International. The organization “Mil Solidarios”, founded by the Spanish Jesuit Francisco de Paula Oliva, has received support from AECID with two projects for the Spanish NGO Women in Conflict Zone in the periods 2010/11 and 2019 / 21, thanks to which the Family Attention Center was built, which has had a great impact on the entire population of Bahia. Hundreds of women have been trained for employment and self-employment in addition to being cared for their social, psychological, and legal needs. Part of the rights holders of the project attends the Asunción Workshop School as students, also supported by AECID.
The next stop on the Queen’s itinerary was the “Juan de Salazar” Cultural Center of Spain, in which culture is promoted as a tool for development and which has taken into account the effects of the pandemic on the cultural sector and the Tourism as the engine of the economic reactivation of the country.
After receiving explanations from the director of the center about the role that it develops in the country, Queen Letizia witnessed the performance of the folk dance group “Alas Abiertas” made up of children and young people with special abilities. It is a pioneering project of experimentation and support for marginalized groups in accessing artistic manifestations.
The Queen toured an exhibition of handicrafts made by indigenous people. The downtown library, one of the most important libraries in Asunción, has a wide collection of bibliographic materials based on Spanish culture. Also, the Queen visited the “Josefina y Julián” museum, where an artistic collection of the AECID is kept, and a radio studio. At the end of her tour, Doña Letizia held a meeting with the participants of the center’s workshops.
Network of Cultural Centers of Spain. It is a benchmark for cultural activities in the center of Asunción, an area where mainly alternative and independent activities take place. It is considered the most conducive place from the institutions for citizen participation, for alternative music and emerging artists.
The CCEJS works in a permanent relationship with the Paraguayan citizens and institutions, to achieve development results in the country and for the objectives and purposes of Spanish cultural cooperation. The Cultural Center has three main axes that make up the Salazar cultural project: The Promotion of Spanish Culture; Cultural Cooperation, open to all styles and environments; Finally, Culture as an intrinsic element of Development, which defines and outlines the features of a society.
Another of the centers that Her Majesty the Queen visited was the Entrepreneur Training Center, whose objective is to reduce the barriers that people encounter through training, technical assistance with state-of-the-art tools, support, and advice for the formalization aimed at youth. Letizia toured the Textile and Clothing Center, whose workshops and training rooms are located within the facilities of the Entrepreneur Training Center, thus obtaining an exclusive area aimed at training the textile sector.
Spanish Cooperation is articulated with the operation of this center through the agreement financed by AECID to Plan Internacional España for an amount of 2,500,000 Euros, to improve access to professional training and decent employment through an inclusive approach and difference.
The Entrepreneur Training Center has trained more than 240 vulnerable young people between 19 and 27 years old in rural and peri-urban areas, beneficiaries of the project, with greater participation of women and the inclusion of people with disabilities. In addition, they have provided technical assistance for the development of business plans with which they have applied for tenders to access seed capital. So far, 27 seed funds of 5,000,000 gs (725 euros) have been awarded to entrepreneurs from the departments of Central, Guairá, San Pedro, and Caaguazú.
At noon, Queen Letizia held a working lunch hosted in her honor by the President and the First Lady of Paraguay at the Residential Palace, which ended the cooperation trip.
At the Presidential Residence, before lunch, the First Lady gave Her Majesty the Queen a dress designed by the Paraguayan Gaba Esquivel and made from the city of Yataiti by master craftsmen who embroider a textile technique called “Ao Po’i” ( light clothing in Guaraní).
It is a hand embroidery technique, whose points evoke with their iconography the collective imagination of the culture and identity as a Paraguayan Nation. This gift highlights the wealth and quality of Paraguayan crafts, its potential as a vector for the economic empowerment of Paraguayan women, and its potential as an engine of post-pandemic economic recovery.
Then Queen Letizia headed home for a quiet weekend.
For the day, Queen Letizia once again kept her look simple with another white shirt with brown jeans and her Panama Jack Phoebe boots.
She topped her outfit with red Spanish cooperation jacket.
She was wearing small diamond studs with her Karen Hallam ring.