Empowering Poor, Rural Girls in Paraguay

by Fundacion Paraguaya
Oct 7, 2010

CEM Student at International Entrepreneur Forum in

Palmira & the School
Palmira & the School's principal Celsa Acosta

Palmira Mereles, student at the Mbaracayu Education Center, talks about her experiences at the International Entrepreneur Forum 2010 in Mexico. After winning third place in “The Art of Communication” competition during the IEF of Paraguay in 2009, she received a scholarship to participate in this year’s Entrepreneur Forum.

“Imagine being in my situation. A girl, from the countryside, crossing the border and visiting a foreign country. In the past, this had been an unreachable dream for me, but fortunately this dream has become a reality. An extraordinary journey awaited me. A journey, which would have not been possible without the help of the Fundación Paraguaya, who gave me a grant to participate in the International Entrepreneur Forum 2010 (IEF) in Mexico. Together with Melba González and our 2 tutors, Norma Barrios and Norma Ortiz, 2 marvelous persons, we started our journey to Mexico. I was expecting a lot from the Forum, and I could not wait to get to the Morelos State, where the event was going to take place.

As soon as we arrived at the Hotel Hacienda Cocoyoc, we saw a huge crowd of young people, 100 of new faces, all from different parts around the world, who gave us the warmest and heartiest welcome I have ever experienced.

The IEF started with the conference “Re-constructing my World”, by Beatriz Garcia Madrigal. It was an amazing conference with great moments of reflection. At the end of the conference we participated in the “Rally of Integration”, of which the main focus was group work and physical activity. As everybody showed a lot of enthusiasm and put a lot of effort into the activities, the results and experiences were great.

The official opening of the IEF was a day filled with emotions. As Melba and I walked in line, holding the Paraguayan flag, we saw all those excited people, admiring and esteeming the Paraguayan culture and taking our picture, we felt an indescribable pride. During the opening I was also interviewed by Channel 40, a Mexican TV station. They asked me interesting questions, with respect to my origin, my expectations and the experiences I made in Mexico. I answered all of them naturally and sincerely.

Time passed by so quickly, and without noticing the last day of the event had arrived. We said goodbye to all new friends we made, remembering the vivid experience, filled with happiness and funny moments.

At the end of the event the award ceremony took place. As I had participated in the talent show, in which I presented a typical Paraguayan dance, I could not wait to get the results. To my surprise and joy I got the third place out of all five finalists. In addition to that, Melba and I reached the third place in the competition “This is America”. This was a very special moment for us, keeping in mind that with respect to the number of participants our delegation was small, but it was huge, regarding its spirit.

I am very grateful for the opportunity that was given to me, because for girls like me, who come from the countryside, it is very difficult to live experiences like these. Experiences which awaken the entrepreneurial spirit that lies in each one of us.

 To those who accompanied me in this unforgettable journey, to everybody who gave me help and support, my parents, friends, the directors of the Mbaracayú Education Centre and the Fundación Paraguaya; I would like to thank you with all my heart.”

Palmira Mereles participated in the IEF 2010
Palmira Mereles participated in the IEF 2010
Palmira right before the talent show
Palmira right before the talent show

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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
$32,196 raised of $95,000 goal
555 donations
$62,804 to go
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