Empowering Poor, Rural Girls in Paraguay

by Fundacion Paraguaya
Here come the family to celebrate!
Here come the family to celebrate!

December 17, 2011 marked a historic day for the Mbaracayu Girls School.  49 girls celebrated becoming the first ever graduating class of the school. They all received a high school degree with an emphasis in environmental sciences. All of the girls had family members in attendance to share this proud moment.

This marks a huge achievement for the girls, their families, and the community. Many of the girls came to the institution timid, and with no self-esteem or motivation for the future. Now they all know their value and are not afraid of new challenges. Against all odds, the girls have no only completed a high school education, but they have also become self-confident young women with an entrepreneurial spirit and skills that will open never imagined opportunities for them. They have paved the way for other girls in the region to become professionals, study at university, and to be valued for their intellect. The girls have new expectations of what life has to offer, far beyond being relegated to extreme poverty, early child bearing, domestic violence as a norm, or involvement in the drug trade, prostitution, or human trafficking – all too often the only options available for many girls in the region.

A big thanks to all of you who made this dream a reality. Please continue to join us on this journey by continuing to share your generosity with the girls who continue to pursue their dreams at the school.

The proud graduates
The proud graduates
More proud graduates
More proud graduates
Elisa Centurion
Elisa Centurion

It is no small feat to be selected for an internship as a park ranger in Mbaracayú, a position traditionally held by a man.  Three girls from the Mbaracayú School underwent a rigorous selection process and were chosen for the post. Some of the prerequisites include: leadership and crisis management skills, survival skills, being from the region of the Mbaracayú biosphere, ability to drive a motorcycle, parental authorization, first response training, communication and customer services skills, willingness to be on duty for 25 days straight, and an overall ability to be responsible and hardworking.

The three students from the school who were selected, and completed this internship are Maria Cirila Olmedo, Elida Gómez and Elisa Centurión.  All three young women were successful in their endeavors, and exceeded the expectations of the parks rangers.  They spent 25 days straight at their respective posts, and Elida and Elisa further demonstrated their commitment by spending their birthdays away from family and friends.  While presenting the girls with their certificates for completing their internships, park officials and other park rangers all expressed their amazement at the jobs well done. These three young women paved the way for others to follow in their footsteps and not be held back because they are girls.

Upon graduating in December, Elisa Centurión will become the second female park ranger in the region , and will be employed by The Moisés Bertoni Foundation. She will continue to work in the Jejuimí region where the school is located. 

Elisa with a veteran park ranger
Elisa with a veteran park ranger

In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, The Mbaracayu School organized its second annual entrepreneurial forum consisting of games and activities to further cultivate skills in strategic development, communication, environmental conservation, merchandising, and sustainable projects. 150 students were able to benefit from the forum and develop new skills that advance their preparation for a lifetime of economic, social, and emotional wellbeing. The girls, their families, and the school staff have all worked hard to make this inspirational week a complete success.  

Eight girls from the school traveled to Paris, France from August 21-August 28, 2011 to participate in the Homeless World Cup of Football (Soccer), during which homeless and socially marginalized youth from 64 nations across the world united for seven days of gritty, fast paced street soccer. This represented an opportunity for the girls to wear their national colors with pride, and find acceptance, understanding, and encouragement on the world stage through sports and team work.

We are so proud of how our girls represented the school, and moreover the nation, with their composure, great sportsmanship, and respect for themselves and others.  Great job!  

Margarita Amarilla, now a senior at the school is shy by nature, and came to the school speaking only Guarani.  Since she has been at the Mbaracayu Girls School, she has come out of her shell, and now speaks Spanish fluently.  She is friendly, and enjoys starting up conversations with others.  She is from a rural community and is the oldest of 9 girls in her family. Her sisters dream of following in her footsteps and attending the school one day. You are looking at a picture of Margarita preparing to sell eggs produced at the school at a local farmers market. 

Thank you for supporting Margarita and her classmates in creating a better life for themselves!


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Organization Information

Fundacion Paraguaya

Location: Asuncion, Central - Paraguay
Website: http:/​/​www.fundacionparaguaya.org.py
Project Leader:
Luis Sanabria
General Manager
Asuncion, Paraguay
$31,951 raised of $95,000 goal
547 donations
$63,049 to go
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