From January 14 to 19, 2019, two studets from the Mbaracayú Education Center (CEM) participated in the Sustainability Week in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
In 2018, the students of Mbaracayú Education Center were awarded the Zayed Sustainability Prize. During the Sustainability Week, students made a presentation about the progress of the winning project and shared lessons learned and recommendations for other schools. For the proposal, the students identified the deficiency in the supply of electricity and hot water as a need in the area. To solve this, the presented project addresses energy security through the installation of a system of thermal solar panels for electricity and hot water, as well as the installation of gravity lights that do not require an external power source. In addition, it is proposed to plant trees of the native species Kupa'y (diesel tree) in the community, whose resin can be used for the production of biodiesel that will feed the generator and tractors of the school. The aim is to raise awareness about the sustainable use of natural resources among the inhabitants of areas close to the school.
The students, Romina (15) and Jessica (17), along with the Project coordinator, were the only Paraguayan representatives in the event.
The Educational Center Mbaracayú (CEM) offers exciting opportunities for young women to break traditional gender stereotypes in Paraguay. In a region where mostly men provide for the family through agriculture and employment, these ambitious young women are learning how to play the same game, and they are excelling.
Young women who attend the school located in the Mbaracayú Natural Forest Reserve on the eastern side of Paraguay are learning valuable lessons in various industries not traditionally occupied by women. Specifically, the school trains these young women to be conservationists first; the students learn about environmental conservation, green energy and first aid for use deep in the forest or in their hometowns.
Fundación Moises Bertoni, the Paraguayan organization founded to improve the quality of life of people through the preservation of biodiversity, conservation of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development to benefit present and future generations, also administers the school. The main institutional protector of the Mbaracayú Natural Forest, Fundación Moises Bertoni has won many awards for conservation of the last large forest in Paraguay, including their recent win of the Global Prize for Biodiversity Conservation from BBVA Foundation.
The students at CEM are directly benefitted by their location in Mbaracayú: they can participate in any conversations about biodiversity held by Fundación Moises Bertoni and the various partners that travel to the CEM for retreats, meetings, and even trainings of the students. The Red Cross visited recently to teach the students key tactics in basic first aid!
CEM provides innovative opportunities for girls to learn key skills they otherwise would not be a part of. These skills help broaden their horizons of what is possible for girls, and their activities as young forest rangers helps to empower them and other women they encounter to understand what a woman can be capable of.
The students of the Education Center at Mbaracayú (CEM) received a visit from GNB Bank. With staff members of the bank, the students learned financial management, discussed how to land their first job, and chatted about women's empowerment. Understanding these topics will help these young women to be successful once they finish school and graduate! We are so happy to have partners like GNB Bank that help these young women continue on their path to success!
While still growing and learning, these students have already achieved incredible things! They study hard to receive their high school diploma while at the same time learning by doing at CEM, doing beekeeping, agriculture production, and tourism management at the incredible Mbaracayú Forest Reserve. These women act as forest rangers, learning about the biodiversity of the forest and how to protect it, in a time where most all forest rangers are men! Many of these young women to become forest rangers in the reserve, or continue to university, or open their own businesses in their communities, empowered by what they have learned and experienced at CEM.
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