On December 15, 2014, 28 girls from the Centro Educativo Mbaracayu graduated with technical certificates in Environmental Sciences. This is the fourth class to graduate from the rural, financially-self sustainable girls school since its inception in 2011.
The girls that attend the Centro Educativo Mbaracayu had much to celebrate this year. In addition to celebrating their graduation, the girls were named winners of the 2014 Stoplight Olympics, a yearly month-long competition for all of the Self-Sustainable Schools in which 350 students aim to elevate the quality of life of their families and eliminate poverty in five specific indicators: family savings, insurance (medical and funeral), diversified sources of income, capacity for planning and budgeting, communication and social capital. Centro Educativo Mbaracayu had the highest amount of evidence collected and the best results. The results are based on Fundacion Paraguaya's Poverty Stoplight Methodolgy, a self-evaluation that measures each family on 50 indicators of multidimensional poverty, then allows them to prioritize five indicators they want to improve. Centro Educativo Mbaracayu had the most families improve those five indicators, and were rewarded with a trip from Mbaracayu, far in the east of Paraguay, to Asuncion, 8 hours away, to tour the capital city and visit the offices of Fundacion Paraguaya and Fundacion Moises Bertoni, both organizations that run the school.
Thanks to the generous assistance of our donors and supporters, we can prepare these girls and many just like them to improve their lives and the lives of their family's.
Celebrating its 15th year, Paraguay’s Entrepreneur Forum (FEP in Spanish) has gathered more than 200 young people from across sectors and places of the country. This year’s Forum made especial emphasis at encouraging the youth to use their creativity, talent and energy in benefit of social and environmental change. The event was organized by Fundación Paraguaya in representation of Junior Achievement Paraguay, and took place for four days at the San Francisco self-sustainable Agricultural School in Benjamin Aceval (Chaco region). The hosting school was the first of its kind and has served as a model for the creation of the Mbaracayú Educational Center and many others to follow. Four young girls from the Educational Center took part of the event, which consisted in training gatherings, plenary sessions with national and international speakers, social events and cultural competitions, among many others engaging activities. The girls’ participation attained great recognition, wining first place at the Forum’s sustainability project competition and nocturnal games activities. Their successful participation at the Forum, along other 250 young students, evidenced the Center’s work and commitment to the integral development of its students. This was a great opportunity for the girls to not only show the work carried by the Center’s educational curriculum, but to interact with other young students, to further develop social entrepreneurship skills and, more importantly, to show their full potential and a promising future.
On the 19th and 20th of July, the first ever Maracayú Educational Center alumni reunion was organized at the Mbaracayú reservation forest. The event was full of excitement and commemoration. The main purpose for the gathering was to install a space where recent graduates can exchange their life experiences, as well as to improve our alumni data base. In this way, we hope to maintain the alumni contact and to better track their progress after their time at the Center. It is also a step closer to our commitment to build a stronger alumni network and to take concrete actions towards the integral development of our students. A total of 17 recent graduates took part in the event and helped organizing a working team for the consolidation of the Mbaracayú Educational Center Alumni Association (EXACEM in Spanish). The young girls not only showed their interest and commitment to this new initiative but they also remembered their old times at the Center with great deal of emotions at a culminating bonfire.
Today, many our alumni are young university scholar girls receiving support from our kind donors in Global Giving, continuing their education and sharing their hopes and dreams toward their potential future.
Dalila is young and enthusiastic, and like many other students at the Mbajacayú Educational Center she has the dream to be the first member of her family to attend the university... “My dream is to become a psychologist in order to help other young people like me overcome challenges like I have; I will be the first in my entire family”. We would like to thank our donors for helping students like Dalila unfold their dreams and become true leaders of positive change in their communities.
Dalila realized upon arriving to CEM that her dream could come true only through two secrets: persistence and dedication. In her first year of study living in the Mbaracayú Forest Reserve, Dalila already stood out and was selected as the only member of her class to participate in the Paraguay Entrepreneurs Forum (FEP), a 3-day event organized by Fundación Paraguaya that gathers youth from all over the country to discuss entrepreneurship, career opportunities, and share experiences.
Dalila proudly narrates how this experience to represent her school helped her understand that if she works hard in school, she will be recognized and given the chance to succeed. About her experience at the Mbaracayú Educational Center, she mentioned “I really enjoy all the activities that we do in the school because working in the field allows us to learn real skills and share what we learn with all the visitors that come to the Reserve. My favorite activities are to work at the hotel, and to help out in the kitchen, I love interacting with the guests!”
Please keep on supporting us and help us create the conditions girls like Dalila need to tap their potentials and to become self-confident rural entrepreneurs…
March 3, 2014 was not an ordinary day in the Mbaracayú Forest Reserve. For the 50 girls who arrived with their families for the first time, it was rather the beginning of a new dream as they were welcomed as the first year class of the Mbaracayú Educational Center for 2014. The new students will live in the school for the next three years, where they will take part in classroom lessons as well as practical activities in the field which vary from working at the vegetable garden, welcoming and serving guests at the rural hotel located in the Reserve, organizing tour visits, working at the chicken coop, etc. The wide variety of activities performed as part of the school curriculum allows the girls to learn significant soft and hard skills needed to find decent employment and qualify for advanced education.
As the new group of girls was welcomed to the school by their peers from second and third year, they performed several ice-breakers and integration activities with the objective of creating a family environment for the girls to feel supported and loved as they enter their new home.
The families accompanied the girls throughout the day celebrating this new opportunity with the confidence that they will be prepared as future leaders of their communities. These girls receive all the personal affects and school supplies they need to be successful and make the best out of their education.
In the next three years, these young women will be ready to follow even greater career paths, as they will qualify for pursuing university degrees, a dream most of their families would not even dare to consider.
Please help them and their peers continue on the path of higher education by making it possible for them to achieve a seemingly impossible dream---to complete high school and attend the university.
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