How children are experiencing Canada in Paraguay
As Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving, South American children give thanks for a warm virtual memory of the country
By Rosanna Menchaca, communications manager, Paraguay
As Canadians gather to give thanks this weekend, they’re not alone. Many children in Paraguay were thankful for a fun experience to learn more about the country their sponsors call home.
“Canada is a very nice country, their animals and landscapes; I would like to visit, but when it’s not so cold,” jested Benita, 11, during a Knowing Canada education day hosted by Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) local partner, Global Infancia.
During the day, Justin the bear, an honorary member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, guided 150 children as they prepared imaginary suitcases full of joy to board the plane and embark on an 8,000-km journey from their homes in Paraguay to Canada. He taught them about Canada’s culture, national symbols, weather, food and more. Children even tried maple syrup and saw beavers gnaw wood to build their homes.
Once a year, Knowing Canada gives Paraguayan children a chance to connect with Canadian culture, geography, food and sports through plays, drawings, videos and photos. Ultimately, hundreds of children get a unique Canadian experience.
In fact, Fundación Dequeni, another CCFC local partner, gathered 430 children to take part in Knowing Canada, where they also made cards for their sponsors. Meanwhile, partner FortaleSer brought together 1,800 students from 30 schools and another partner, Crecer, gathered 40 children. The participants were appreciative: “I like to know [about] the country where the person who helps me lives,” was a common comment. One participant even noted: the “flag is very cute.”
What started as an educational activity many years ago has transformed into a cultural encounter. Many of these children, who won’t travel outside their communities, much less Paraguay, can now be part of an international experience with great memories.