Operation South America was a natural progression from a previous organisation called Project Paraguay. It was coined by four members of a youth group, Aldridge Youth Fellowship. Their aim was to experience life in South America and undertake a short-term project, based on Christian principles. They approached Phil Grainger (founder of OSA) who had spent several years working in Paraguay, under the umbrella of the Anglican church, providing much needed support to the indigenous people.
The outcome of this meeting took Phil and five boys in the summer of 2001 to Makxawaya, a small remote village in the vast northern Chaco region of Paraguay, where they helped to renovate two large alchives or water tanks and thus secure a clean water supply for the village in times of drought. They were also a considerable hit with the village children and did much to foster good relations through the local church. In the following years the project snowballed, many groups from the UK went out and an assortment of buildings was constructed or repaired and vehicles purchased, mainly for local churches.
Most projects were successful but in 2007 a small group of committed individuals in UK decided to put the organisation on a more formal footing, with a change of name and focus. Today the work of Operation South America is based in and around the village of Quyquyhó, in the district of Paraguari, some 180 kilometres to the south of the capital, Asuncion
Every year a number of committee members visit our base in the township of Quyquyhó, in the district of Paraguari, some 180 Km from the capital, Asuncion. They take a small team of volunteers to work on various projects. All are self-funded.
The work in Paraguay is co-ordinated by our Director, Osvaldo Recalde, a native Paraguayan and his wife, Marie-Luisa.
The Recalde family own a large house just a few hundred metres from the OSA property. For several years now, with OSA support, this has been devoted to accommodating the needs of up to 20 girls. Known locally as El Puente (The Bridge) this foster home provides a safe and loving environment for girls who have known the worst excesses of poverty and abuse. They are shown that they are loved and valued whilst being taught the responsibilities of Christian family life. The Paraguayan Ministry for Childhood and Adolescence has recognised the value of the work done with these girls and is portrayed nationally as an outstanding example.
Currently we are organising the transition from the Recalde property to the new purpose-built homes on OSA land, under the guidance of the Ministry, following recent changes in the legislation on childcare.
The Management Team
We couldn’t offer the support and services we provide for our vulnerable girls in Paraguay without the hard work and dedication of OSA's UK-based Management Team. Although small in number they have achieved much, with God’s grace. None receive a salary and all are self-funded when they visit the work in Paraguay, emergencies excepted. We have no expensive offices and minimal equipment. We rely on the generosity of individuals to fund the work, ourselves included.
Jon & Kath Bowyer
We are Jon and Kath Bowyer, married for 11 years and Dad and Mum to a wonderful daughter. Jon works in pest control and Kath is a full time primary teacher. We are passionate about the work in Paraguay and the girl’s home, having seen first-hand the amazing difference knowing the Lord and having a safe place to live means to the girls. Read More
Laurie & Sue Budd
Chairman & Trustee respectively.
Although nominally Chairman, Laurie is mainly involved in administrative matters and spends many hours in front of a computer screen. His favourite task is preparing & distributing the Update newsletters which tell of our current progress and needs. Sue, with her background in helping young people make career choices is responsible for Safeguarding in the charity’s work. Read More
Phil & Liz Grainger
Founder/Trustee & Committee Member respectively
Phil usually goes to Paraguay once a year to work with Osvaldo and Marie-Luisa who run the home. Due to his long association with Paraguay, he is able to advise on issues pertaining to the work there. He is also involved in fundraising and speaking to interested groups of people about the home. In addition he takes groups of volunteers out to Quyquyhó. Read More
My wife Ela and I visit the girl's home in Quyquyhó every year. We are both learning Spanish and spend a lot of our time talking with Osvaldo, Maria Luisa and the girls regarding committee matters. Ela works with small groups of girls and teaches them sewing. I sort out the monthly budgeted spend with Osvaldo and Maria Luisa. We love Quyquyhó so much we have brought a house there! Read More
After growing up hearing all about Operation South America, how it started, how it has grown and all the stories behind it, I naturally jumped at the chance to go out to Paraguay when the opportunity arose in 2011. My first trip was just over two months long and changed my life. Read More
Leo & Angie Luik
Treasurer & Trustee respectively
Leo has been an OSA trustee since 2012 and took over the role of Treasurer in 2015. As a retired qualified accountant, Leo’s main role is to ensure the financial side of the charity is operated with integrity and complies with Charity Commission requirements. Leo also enjoys the fund raising side, especially when being the quiz master at the OSA Curry and Quiz events. Read More
Deputy Chairman and Trustee
My main role is supporting the chairman and the rest of the committee and chairing most of the meetings. I have recently started to take on a budgetary role arranging the financial transfers of the charity to Paraguay. I am also responsible for the issuing and counting of our churches OSA collecting boxes. Read More