Astrid, a graduate of CEM, is organizing various youth environmental education activities in the Community of Villa Rica. She is a scholarship recipient at the National University in Villa Rica in her second year, studying environmental engineering with other scholarship students.
Strid is busy preparing for a three-day work shop to be held in Villa Rica and Paso Jovai about youth leadership and bioconstructions. The workshop will be given alongside Peace Corps Volunteers. Current CEM 1st and 2nd year students will attend this workshop, this first in which an alumnus is the instructor and organizer, in addition to participation from the Alumni Association of CEM. This is a great opportunity to bring together a small group of the large family that is CEM, and an excellent opportunity to show current students what is possible with the education they are working so hard to receive.
There are about 10,000 kilometers, including an ocean, between Ybyrarovana in Canindeyu, Paraguay and Morogoro in Tanzania. There, Palmira is starting to fulfill her dreams. She is a Paraguayan girl who is an example of perseverance for all of us.
When Palmira was 7, she used to meet with her brother, cousins and friend in hot Ybyrarovana to play "empresita," a role-playing game in which they pretended to be business people, using leaves as money for their transactions. She was dedicated to her studies, waking up at 4am to catch the 4:30am bus that passed her town and took her to school at San Enrique de Osso. Classes started at 7am and ended at 11am, and the trek home ended at 1pm. She went through a few other schools in various cities, determined to get a good education.
In 2009, a visit from a relative brought excellent news: a new high school for girls was opening its doors near the forest reserve Mbaracayu offering a certification program. Without hesitation Palmira and her family went to register, and she was on of the first students to be admitted. She graduated in December 2011, the best of 59 other students, with a GPA of 4.7. She participated in the Forum of Entrepreneurs Paraguay - FEP, achieving third place among the best schools in the country. Looking forward to her future, Palmira decided to look into colleges. An alumnus of the Earth University in Costa Rica spread the news of a full scholarship possibility, and Palmira applied and was accepted, scoring the only space available for Paraguayan students.
Palmira is now in her third year of an Agronomy program at Earth University, with an overall average of 9.3/10 possible. She is currently in Morogoro Tanzania, completing an internship as part of her Earth University coursework. She is also working with the Fundacion Paraguaya office in Tanzania that is replicating the same financially self-sustainable school model, giving professional advice and feedback to improve the same system that helped her to get where she is.
Palmira is an example of the success that a good education and good influences can bring communities that are in need of higher technical and entrepreneurial education. Thanks to your continued support, students like Palmira can continue to unleash their potential for success.
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.