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Raised: 49%

Target: £66,544.00
Raised so far: £32,812.00

Project run by

Fundacion Paraguaya, Asuncion, Paraguay

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Empowering Poor, Rural Girls in Paraguay

A financially self-sustaining agro-forestry school in Paraguay's Mbaracayu Forest Reserve will empower poor girls to overcome poverty.

What is the problem the project is addressing?

Girls in this region of Paraguay simply do not have access to education beyond a junior high school level, and many do not have access to any level of education at all. These girls are especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuses, and in the best case scenario a marginalized life of extreme poverty. The program thus far has served Ache and, Ava Guarani indigenous groups, Brazilians, Bolivians, and poor rural farm girls from mixed ethnic backgrounds.

How will this project solve the problem?

The school strives to produce graduates who are100% employable and/or bound for higher education. The boarding school equips the participants with practical and entrepreneurial experiences, technical training, and the ability to sustain a higher socio-economic status over the long run.

What is the potential long-term impact of this project?

Four months after graduation, the 50 high school girls who graduate each year will have good jobs in agro-forestry, have started their own rural enterprises and/or be at university. The school uses small-scale, on-campus agro-forestry enterprises as a platform for girls to develop the technical, financial and entrepreneurial skills required for economic success.The school will be financially self-sufficient in 5 years, which means that the benefits continue in perpetuity.

Sep 14 2023

From Green to Silver: Entrepeneurship & Sports

Rodrigo Amarilla

Dear donors,

We are very grateful for your generous support and trust in our work at the Mbaracayú Educational Center. Thanks to your contributions, we have been able to carry out many exciting and impactful activities that benefit our students and our community. In this report, we would like to share with you some of the highlights of our recent achievements.

One of the most remarkable events was the presentation of “ILEX”, a line of artisanal soaps made from yerba mate, by our second-year students. They participated in the Escuela Emprendedora contest, organized by the Fundación Paraguaya, and showcased their products in Asunción. They explained the whole process of soap production and how they came up with the idea from participating in the “Yerba Mate project”, funded by BMZ and executed by the Fundación Moisés Bertoni. Through this project, our students have been involved in various activities to raise awareness about the cultivation and protection of yerba mate as a native species.

Another great achievement was the second place that our female volleyball team won in the departmental round, after being champions in the district round. They competed with great skill and sportsmanship among nine institutions. This participation was part of the project "Sport as a tool for well-being and development and the training of young environmental leaders in the Mbaracayú Biosphere Reserve", which aims to promote physical and mental health, teamwork, leadership, and environmental awareness among our students.

These are just some of the amazing activities that our students are able to do thanks to your support. We are very proud of them and their teachers, who work hard every day to provide them with quality education and opportunities for personal and professional growth. We hope you are proud too, and we invite you to continue supporting us in our mission to empower young women and protect our environment.

Thank you very much!


Mar 17 2023

Math as a Driving Force

Moises Bazan

Jimena, a 1st grade student of the Mbaracayu Educational Center, participated as a finalist in the National Mathematics Olympics, a competition that took place in different stages. Jimena’s prowess with the numerical sciences earned her a spot first in the regional Olympics hosted at Villa Ygatimí, and then advancing through the ranks in the departmental Olympics hosted in Salto del Guairá.

Her effort took her from regional, to departmental, to the National Finals that took place in Encarnacion. 

When asked about how she felt when climbing upwards towards the finals, she answered: 

“I feel the support of the people and I feel so grateful for it. My family and my classmates have helped me so much. I am happy that I can put my love for mathematics to good use and represent my school and where I come from on a national level”

Like Jimena, the Mbaracayu Educational Center hosts many girls from rural backgrounds that seek to expand their horizons through education.


Oct 25 2022

Learning exchange and new IT equipment

Luana Azcona

In September, the students of the Mbaracayu Educational Center made a guided visit to the Cerrito Agricultural School. The main goal of this guided visit was for the students to exchange know-how and expertise, and allow them to experience living day-to-day in the school. Through this, they expanded their technical and practical knowledge in fields such as orchards, farming, milk production plants, hotels and others. 

The students of the Mbaracayu Educational Center valued greatly the learning and the hospitality received during their stay in Cerrito, allowing them to foster new bonds and garner new skills in different fields.

Furthermore, in September, we received a new batch of 6 computers for the students of the Mbaracayu Educational Center in lieu of the project  “Computers for All”. This new batch adds to the 20 computers already in place and received in July.

These computers will become indispensable in adding to the skillsets of the young students, who are eager to learn about digital commercialization and all the opportunities technology can offer to advance their businesses.


Jun 27 2022

Mandala Gardens

Luana Azcona

In order to counteract the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mbaracayú Educational Center continues to innovate in various fields. Since 2021, we have been implementing the “Mandala Gardens” with the help of the Guayakí team, which improves the use of space and resources in the vegetable plantation. 

This planting method optimizes the use of water, improves the access to sunlight, and entails a variety of nutritional benefits for the plants. The main characteristic of this method is the circular shape with functional corridors to connect the furrows with each other. Additionally, the method allows for a diversity of species to be cultivated in a small place, since it has integrated crops that do not leave the soil bare, resulting in abundant harvests.

In addition to learning about sustainable agricultural practices, students get exposed to other cultures and appreciate the value of their customs. In this case, the Indian culture uses the word “Mandala” when referring to a sacred circle of energy used for meditation.

As the Mbaracayú Educational Center promotes biodiversity conservation, the Mandala Gardens encourage the coexistence of humans with nature in an ecological community.


Mar 02 2022

Class of 2021

Victorinne Nasi

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected educational systems worldwide, forcing schools to shift their conventional methods of in-person teaching to digital pedagogy. Additionally, they had to reinvent themselves to make learning interesting and to adopt the necessary safety measures for students to return to in-person classes. All of these changes have required a bigger commitment from teachers, students, and other school staff.

The Mbaracayú Educational Center has been resilient to changes and adversities and it has continued with its mission of providing quality education to poor rural girls throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the students’ determination, however, this would not have been possible. Today, we want to tell the story of the 2021 class students. 

The girls from the 2021 class had just started high school when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. It was a very difficult and uncertain period of time for students as well as for the teaching staff. The school made a big effort to keep in touch with the students so they would not fall behind in school. In some cases that the student could not be contacted, the teachers would print the class material and take it to their villages.

The following year, the school adopted a hybrid learning format. This allowed students to go back to school for in-person classes, even if that was only for a portion of the school year.

We want to recognize the amazing effort and perseverance of these girls. Last year, all 49 of them graduated from Mbaracayú Educational Center with an Environmental Science degree.

Nov 02 2021

Expressions of Empowerment

Victorinne Nassi


In September, the students of The Centro Educativo Mbaracayu (located in the center of the Mbaracayú National Forest Reserve of Paraguay), participated in the “Expressions of Empowerment” competition, an initiative from the International Youth Think Tank (IYTT), which purpose was to showcase unique innovative venture to transform academically founded arguments into artistic expressions.

The International Youth Think Tank (IYTT) is a Gothenburg-based initiative that mobilizes young people towards the goal of promoting a democratic movement based on the values of the open society.

These were the students who took part of this competition, Roció Casagrante, Diana Villalba, Cessia Aramí López, Carolina Mbyvangi, Ester Tykuarangi, Jazmín Torres and Carina Bejaro. Their project is a beautiful artwork, which was made with Aché Arroyo Bandera and Avá Guaraní community wood-carving techniques. This artistic expression has been one of eleven selected pieces out of a total of twenty-six sent from around the world.

The digital art exhibit opened on October 1 at the Athens Democracy Forum:

Jul 06 2021


Victorinne Nasi

The Mbaracayu School continues to make its best efforts to continue providing education to female students from nearby communities.

The situation of the country has not changed much, the risk of spreading the virus and deaths remain high. Vaccinations have started but are not yet available for young people. In general, educational institutions have adapted, but distance classes are still difficult. The economy has improved a bit but a long recovery is expected.

We started the year with a mixed modality of face-to-face and virtual classes, the Mbaracayu school has been forced to suspend this methodology due to COVID infections among female students. Classes are held only remotely, taking care of the well-being of their students. Using different media and digital platforms, teachers continue their lesson plan. Carrying out follow-ups by Whatsapp and telephone consultations.

The School is expected to receive students again at the boarding school starting in August.


Mar 09 2021

Student Portal

Roberto Gimenez, Luis Fernando Cateura

Given the consequences of the pandemic and the difficulties that virtual classes entail, donations were used in the previous period for the installation of a student management portal at the Mbaracayu School.

After the first stage of installation and especially the asociation to the portal, in conjunction with a general (face-to-face) training for the teachers, we continued to a second stage. In this period, two (virtual) trainings were carried out for teachers to reinforce and use the portal's functions, with the aim that teachers can correctly handle the portal and familiarize students with it. It also start the uploading personal and school information for each of the students.

Finally, once the installation and training stages are concluded, the beginning of the school year is expected to start with the use of the portal. This year the school applies the hybrid class system. This means that there will be both face-to-face and virtual classes.

The students will begin their return to class with a training on the functions of the student administration system.

The portal promotes the administration of student information and generates greater ease of contact between student / teacher.

The beneficiaries from this project are teachers (10) and all students (50) of the Mbaracayu School. The ages between 15 to 18 years old, and 32 to 58 years old.


Nov 11 2020

Student's School Platform

Roberto Gimenez

Due to the consequences of the pandemic, one of them being the closure of Educational Institutions and the implementation of online classes, it was necessary to have a technological tool through which students could continue to learn and maintain contact with their teachers.

With the funds raised for the project, a student platform was developed and implemented in Mbaracayu seeking to facilitate contact between students and teachers. The portal allows the students to receive and submit their assignments, receive content and educational materials, maintain contact with teachers. Additionally, the platform will also enable students to evaluate their teachers and manage their entry and exit permissions from the institution.

Moreover it keeps the academic and field records of each of the students. Furthermore, it will serve as a means to follow up with students once they graduate to collect information about what the alumni are doing (studying, working,etc.).

As a first stage, a training session has been carried out for managers and some teachers in order for them to  discover the Student Portal, seeking the correct appropriation of the tool by teachers and students. In a second stage, the students will be able to use this tool from their mobile devices (cell phones).

Jul 14 2020

Students launch book on virtual national fair

Sonia Sanabria

Due to the Covid19 pandemic, our school switched to home school and home office in order to protect the health of our students, teachers and collaborators. Teachers received training and guidance on how to use digital platforms and we were able to reach 70% of our students. Students that did not have internet access in their houses received their assignments daily by professors, taking in consideration all health related measurements. 

Despite these challenges, the school participated in the 2020 Virtual Book Fair, organized by the Roosevelt Library, part of the American-Paraguayan Cultural Center, in Asuncion. During the Book Fair, the Director of the school and students representatives participated in the official launch of the book "Sustainable Adventures in Mbaracayú", a book for children inspired on the native protected forests of Mbaracayu, where the school is located Also, during the children’s week of the book fair, two students narrated stories of the book for children.


Mar 20 2020

Student selected for international training

Viviana Rojas

Student from Self-Sustainable School was selected among 500 applicants 

The last year of high-school is often critical to decide what students want to do for the rest of their lifes. In this sense, the experiences they have at this stage in life in critical and could make a profound impact. Many study show that the interest of girls on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is equal or more than boys in highschool. However,  a agender gap in participation starts to appear as girls take fewer of the more advanced STEM courses and tests as they get closer to college. This gap widens the longer girls are in school and is often compounded by issues of race and class. This might be different for a rural girl in a Self-sustainable Shcool in Paraguay. 

Ana, a 3rd year student was selected along with other two paraguayans to participate in the Bayer Scientific Camp Kimlu 2020. This event took place in Valle del Elqui, Coquimbo Region, Chile from March 4th and 14th. This initiative is co-organized by Bayer and Fundación Ciencia Joven, with the collaboration of the Center of Advanced Studies on Arid Zones (Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas-CEAZA, in spanish), that focuses on outdoor activities, science, technology, engineering and math looking to contribute to the next generation of leaders in these topics in Latin America. Students were selected based on their interest and aptitudes in STEM areas. In total, 40 students from Paraguay, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay were selected among 500 applicants.

The main objective of the Scientific Camp is to promote the development of scientific skills and leadership in all participants. Students participated in outdoor activities such as workshops, sports and others to enhance their leadership skills through various dynamics. Moreover, they had to develop a collaborative scientific investigation. At all times, students were immersed in an environment of high demand, teamwork and discussion, where they had to use their skills to solve problems with scientific focus. 


Dec 23 2019

CEM students awarded in School Enterprise Challenge

Luis Fernando Sanabria

The Mbaracayu Educational Center (CEM) participated in the School Enterprise Challenge and one first place at the Canindeyú Department level and third place nationally. The School Enterprise Challenge is run internationally by Teach A Man To Fish and organized in Paraguay by Fundación Paraguaya.

First year students work together to create a business producing and selling dried orange peels. They worked very hard and displayed great leadership. The School Enterprise Challenge engages students at schools across the world to create enterprises that generate an impact and involves the entire educational community. Entrepreneurship training is carried out for all those involved so that they have the necessary tools to carry out their business.

Oct 11 2019

Former students create Brotes Association

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Former students of the Mbaracayú Educational Center (CEM) who received scholarships through an agreement with CEM, formed an Association of Alumni, called the Brotes Association of Mbaracayú. It has the objective of generating and supporting social and environmental innovation enterprises with high growth potential that aim to meet the objectives of sustainable development (SDG). Of these SDGs, the Association has 6 prioritized objectives: Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Climate Action, and Partnerships. They will work in the Departments of Guairá, San Pedro and Caníndeyu. This has been a pleasant surprise for all of us and we believe in the potential of the women and that this Association will be very successful.

Jul 12 2019

Students of the CEM participate in Tech Bootcamp

Luis Fernando Sanabria

6 current students of the School and one graduate, in total 7 girls from Center of Education Mbaracayú (CEM), were selected to participate in the Penguin Bootcamp, held in Asunción. Fundación Paraguaya has teamed up with Penguin Academy to bring a prestigious and innovative technology workshop to Paraguay. Penguin Programming Bootcamps are intensive courses of programming that lasted 2 weeks and took participants from a level of "zero experience" to be ready to start a technology internship.

The course was held at the Casa de Nómadas in Asunción from May 6 to 22. The projects carried out by the CEM students during the bootcamp were presented at the Cerrito Forum 2019, where they were 1st and 2nd place winners.

Apr 08 2019

CEM present at sustainability week in Abu Dhabi

Luis Fernando Sanabria

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.

Jan 08 2019

Female forest rangers protect national forest

Luis Fernando Sanabria

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.

Oct 09 2018

Students learn key skills from GNB Bank

Luis Fernando Sanabria

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.

Jul 13 2018

CEM Film Used to Inspire Students Nationally

Luis Fernando Sanabria

The documentary filmed at the Educational Center in Mbaracayú (CEM) is being shared across Paraguay through Fundación Paraguaya’s Poverty Stoplight Olympics program.

The Poverty Stoplight Olympics challenges high school students across the country to work together to eliminate poverty in their communities, and it consists of challenges issued that pertain to certain indicators of poverty. This year’s challenges refer to the indicators for insurance, water use, electricity, and education, and one of the tasks is to watch the documentary, as it is being provided opensource for participating students. The documentary shows the opening of the school and the lives of some of the students as the learn by doing in a practical environment.

By viewing the documentary, students across Paraguay learn about the school model at Mbaracayú and are inspired by the stories presented by the students. It is exciting for the CEM students to get this kind of national exposure!

Apr 13 2018

Mbaracayu wins Zayed Future Energy Prize

Luis Fernando Sanabria

The Mbaracayú Educational Center was chosen as the winner of the tenth edition of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in the category of Global High Schools for the Americas region. The award ceremony was held on January 15 at 10:00 a.m. (local time) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center, located in the capital of the Arab country.

The award seeks to recognize innovators in renewable energy and sustainability. The contest is part of the vision of the UAE and its commitment to find solutions that respond to the challenges of climate change, energy security and the environment. In ten years, the winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize have had a positive impact on the lives of 307 million people around the world, according to the organization.

The winning proposal

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, in addition to the assembly 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.   This includes a system of thermal solar panels that will provide 15,500 Kw of electricity and 51,500 Kw of hot water at 55 degrees Celsius. It also includes the elaboration of a comic and puppet show, which will be part of the outreach efforts to share the lessons of sustainability with other schools.


Our representatives

The young women who represented the school in Abu Dhabi are 16-year-old Analía, from the town of Guayaibí, Department of San Pedro; and 17-year-old Pamela, from the city of Ypehû, Department of Canindeyú. Both are in the third year of the Technical Bachelor in Environmental Sciences. Pamela was in charge of receiving the award during the award ceremony. "I am very happy to have won the award, because this award is not just for me and my school, but for my community and my country," the student commented excitedly when thanking the organization of the contest. The students participated in the event wearing typical Paraguayan attire, as well as making presentations on the culture of our country. "We hope to know a lot about the Arab culture, and that they know about ours," said Pamela and Analía. They also participated in the Sustainability Week of Abu Dhabi, where they carried out various activities such as work tables, talks, conferences, among others.

Jan 17 2018

Scholarship student graduates top of class

Luis Fernando Sanabria

On December 6, 2017, Sandra, a former student of the CEM (2011) and recipient of a scholarship from Fundación Paraguaya and the Department of Housing in Villa Rica, graduated from the National University of Villa Rica. She received her professional degree and gave a speech as the best graduate of her year in the School of Economic Sciences. CEM is very proud of Sandra, and of all graduates that have received their professional titles and also stand out as the best student.

We love to inform you of these success stories, and thanks to your support, we would love to continue offering these scholarship opportunities to more CEM graduates.

Oct 17 2017

Class of 2015 graduate stands out in her work

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Nurys graduated from the class of 2015 and has been working in the capital city of Asunción for some time. She has quickly succeeded in her work, recently receiving a recognition offered by the clients of the local fast food joint in which she has been working for a year. She has received a recognition granted by the directors of his work. Nurys joins the list of students who excel in their work thanks to the learning and preparation they received at CEM. It is an achievement for girls who come from rural areas to make their way in the capital city. Our compliments to Nurys, and may more success continue to follow!

Jul 19 2017

CEM stars participate in International Fair

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Graduates of the Center of Education Mbaracayu (CEM), from the classes of 2011, 2013, and 2014, Bianca, Neida and Ramona, presented at the 12th International Fair for Tourism, at the Festival of the Waterfalls, which took place in the city of Foz de Iguazu, Parana, Brazil. The graduates participated in this event thanks to their great work performance in the area of tourism at Fundación Moisés Bertoni, where they work successfully in tourism at the Moises Bertoni Scientific Monument and at the Mbaracayú Lodge.

The Festival is the largest fixed event in Foz do Iguaçu and the second largest in the southern region. Due to its geographic position of Brazil with Argentina and Paraguay, it allows the promotion of a business meeting between Mercosur tourism professionals. Focused mainly on generating business, strengthening and disseminating tourism at the national and international levels, it seeks sustainable development, emphasizes technological innovations, stimulates the production and dissemination of science, empowers professionals, positively impacting the entire tourism production chain. To have CEM graduates participate as star performers of the burgeoning tourism industry of Paraguay is very exciting!

Apr 25 2017

Former Student of CEM recognized by the US Embassy

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Cirila, a 2011 graduate of the Mbaracayú School, received recognition from the US Embassy in Paraguay as part of the program Women for Change “She Rocks 2017” for being a woman who challenges gender stereotypes.  Cirila is a park ranger, one of two women park rangers of the Natural Forest Reserve of Mbaracayú, a job she began when she was 19 years old. Although she breaks stereotypes by doing a job commonly performed by men, she believes that her work is not difficult and that she is respected by all her male peers. She is dynamic, with a lot of predisposition and with leadership capacity.

"Women for Change #SheRocks 2017" is a campaign that seeks to distinguish the outstanding work of women in Paraguay; the outstanding women were honored at an event held at the Embassy for the Day of Women in Paraguay and International Women's Day.

Jan 24 2017

First robotics academy exclusively for rural women

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Saturday, December 10 the final edition of the competition of the National Robotics League for the year 2016-2017 took place at the BBVA auditorium (Avda. Mariscal López and Torreani Viera). During the meeting, the first robotics academy exclusively for rural women in Canindeyú was presented.

During the competition, the Robotics Academy of the Educative Center of Mbaracayú (CEM) was presented. This will be the first academy in the northern part of the country to become part of the Paraguayan REEDUCA network. The opening of this academy is made possible by the financial support of the United States Embassy.  Its opening represents a qualitative jump in materials for technology and inclusive education, as CEM offers quality education directed exclusively to young women from rural areas, including girls from indigenous and farming communities.

Through the creative process, in addition to the construction of a robot, the students actively learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics with a research project oriented towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Oct 27 2016

Indigenous ex-student of CEM achieves dream job

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Safira, CEM graduate of the Class of 2014, has been able to achieve her dream of working as an assistant at Fundación Paraguaya. She loved to help in the secretary’s office at CEM where she voluntarily offered to help the Secretary of the College and learned to answer the phone and do basic secretarial work. Since then, she had told us that someday she would like to develop a job like this. Safira is originally from the Toba Qom indigenous community of Cerrito Chaco, and she finished her studies Technical degree in the CEM despite several difficulties, including, becoming a mother at a very young age. She has overcome several barriers to finish her school and achieve a stable job at Fundación Paraguaya, where she is still learning every day with the help of her office colleagues. She loves secretarial work and we are happy to see that she is achieving her goals. Come on, Safi!

Jul 28 2016

Alumni present moving stories at Gramo Paraguay

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Bianca (22) and Palmira (21), graduates of the Educative Center in Mbaracayu (Centro Educativo de Mbaracayu) (CEM), shared their experience in the conversation cycle “Gramo Paraguay”, on Friday, May 27 in the Lyrical Theater of the Central Paraguayan Bank (BCP).  In front of more than 1000 people, Bianca and Palmira related their experience in living and studying at CEM, and how it substantially changed their lives and the way they value nature and the environment.

The students began their talk by highlighting the great challenge faced by women in rural areas who want to study, that the majority of these women are excluded from the educational system. “To be a woman in the rural areas is a challenge, but that does not impede us from chasing and reaching our goals,” said Palmira to the applause of the audience, and she added, “poverty isn’t only about material things; poverty is the lack of opportunity and of education.”

The history of Bianca and Palmira is especially inspiring because both managed to overcome the systematic exclusion being experienced by rural women and today, and now not only walk into a horizon full of opportunities but also work for a sustainable education that continues to reach more women. Both young women are leaders in their communities of environmental protection and nature conservation. With good reason, their speech ended with an emotional standing ovation.

Apr 30 2016

Graduates receive recognition from US embassy

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Three graduates of the Educational Center Mbaracayú were honored by the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay, in MUJERES PARA EL CAMBIO #‎SheRocks. In commemoration of the Paraguayan Women’s Day and in the framework of the International Women's Day, the American embassy in Paraguay has awarded recognitions to women who have, from their positions, broken barriers and managed to excel through social projects, innovative ideas and community development. The graduates are Palmira, Neida and Numila.

Palmira, one of the youth recognized by the U.S. Ambassador in Paraguay, Leslie A. Bassett, in the framework of the campaign "Mujeres para el Cambio" 2016, also formed a part of the campaign driven by the Embassy, called #SheRocks. They had chosen a photo of Palmira for one of their posters that are displayed alongside the Kubitscheck avenue, next to the Embassy; enormous murals with a message written by Palmira, among other girls who were selected, dedicated to them and other women who broke barriers and have shown us, with their experiences, that every sacrifice has its reward. 

Feb 02 2016

Students from CEM win Poverty Stoplight Olympics

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Twenty five second year students of the Centro Educativo Mbaracayú (CEM) are the winners of the second edition of the Stoplight Olympics, a competition aimed at students from public and subsidized schools from across the country, that become promotors for their families and the fight for the elimination of poverty.  As a prize, the students from Mbaracayú traveled to Camboriú, Brazil.

This year, the competition involved more than 2,200 students from 67 educational institutions, which competed using the dynamic Poverty Stoplight methodology that intends to help families eliminate their own poverty.  The students first guided their families through a self-evaluation of the family situation of poverty and then créate a plan to solve specific indicators, such as: family savings, insurance (medical and life), diversified sources of income, capacity to create a budget, access to communication and social capital.

Oct 27 2015

Private Premiere of the Daughters of the Forest

Luis Fernando Sanabria

On the 18 of September, in the Paraguayan-American Cultural Center, the long-awaited documentary “Daughters of the Forest” premiere.  The filming lasted for 5 years, following a group of students of the Mbaracayú Educational Center, and was directed by Carl Byker, the prestigious American documentalist. 

“We decided to make the movie because we found something unique was happening, and we thought the world should know about it,” states Mr. Byker in an interview in Paraguay.

He and the Musical Director Christopher Hedge came from the United States exclusively for the event.  Also present were the main subjects of the documentary, graduated students from the school, Bianca Soares, Nilda Alderete, Numila Goméz Portillo and Eulalia Krinagui.  Other special guests, included ex-president of Paraguay, Federico Franco, the Director of US Agency for International Development (USAID), Fernando Cossich, and the Director of Agrarian Education from the Minstry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Edgar Olmedo Núñez.

Jul 21 2015

CEM graduate invited to Leadership Academy

Luis Fernando Sanabria

CEM graduate Aymara was again selected by the Organization “Youth Moves,” her second selection (the first being in 2013) to participate in the Youth Leadership School.  She was selected along with 27 other youths from across the country to participate in the Leadership School, which develops training activities for a year.  This experience that involves sharing with other young people and is very enriching for our students who come from rural áreas.  Aymara is a born leader, and was elected delegate of her class by her companions, a worthy representative of the CEM and the surrounding community.  Aymara finished her studies in CEM in 2013.

Apr 21 2015

Alumnus begins tertiary studies in education

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Former Centro Educativo Mbaracayu (CEM) alumnus Numila, began studying Teaching Education in Ygatimí. She is teaching third grade at the local school of her community, with support of the Ministry of Education. She finished her CEM studies in 2012, and the degree she obtained empowered her to achieve the Teacher role in this small native school of Mboi Jagua.

Now she can fulfill her dream of continuing her Teacher Education studies thanks to a scholarship provided by Fundación Paraguaya, which will allow her to be better prepared and able to teach her students.  Numila serves as a great example to her community the value of perseverance and a good education.

Jan 20 2015

A story of success: from Ybyrarovana to Morogoro

Luis Fernando Sanabria

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.

Oct 16 2014

Mbaracayu Educational Center Students Successfully Participate at Paraguay's 15th Entrepreneur Forum

Luis Fernando Sanabria

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. 

Jul 17 2014

The motivating story of Delia

Luis Fernando Sanabria

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…

Dec 20 2013

Mission accomplished!

Luis Fernando Sanabria

For the third time in the still short life of our dear Mbaracayu Girls School of Environmental Entrepreneurs, it is with great pride and honor that we hereby present our Class of 2013.

Last Friday December 13th, 2013, 35 girls will say "mission accomplished!" and graduate with many dreams and hopes for a brilliant future, the future of prosperity that they have been preparing for during their 3 years at the school.

The girls will receive a Technical High School Diploma in Environmental Sciences, and from there, some will take jobs, others will pursue further studies, while still others will do both!

The generous contributions collected on the GlobalGiving site made this milestone for our school and for our graduates possible.  Donations allow us to continue to invest in the improvement of the quality of the education provided at the Mbaracayu Girls School, as well as in its school-bases enterprises that make the school sustainable and also provide relevant training opportunities for the girls.

In closing, we invite you to join us in celebrating this beautiful group of girl entrepreneurs, youth of today, future leaders and change agents of tomorrow. They are the change we want to see in our beloved nation!

Congratulations, girls!


Sep 20 2013

Mbaracayu Girls Give Back to the Community

Luis Fernando Sanabria

As part of the practical curriculum of the all-girls Mbaracayú Educational Center, second-year students conduct different workshops and lectures on Environmental Education for other schools and educational institutions in the Mbaracayú Biosphere Reserve and its surroundings. Within the program “Community Outreach” and as part of the course “Environmental Education”, the girls attempt to raise awareness and teach younger members of their community about water conservation and other subjects related to the environment. They have already visited schools in the Yrybucua District of the department of San Pedro, as well as educational institutions in Curuguaty. For the remainder of the school year, they are planning to visit schools and high schools in the Brítez Cue and Villa Ygatimí communities. Rosica Roa, a second year student, believes that these activities help students like herself learn how to speak in public while increasing their confidence and developing leadership skills.  Moreover, Rosica thinks this is a great way to give back to the community by sharing what is learned at the Mbaracayú Educational Center.

Thank you to our friends at GlobalGiving for their continued support to the girls and the Mbaracayú Educational Center! 

Jun 24 2013

Youth Leadership School here we come!

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Two students from the Mbaracajú Educational Center, Astrid Yaday Cáceres (senior), and Ruth Díaz (junior) along with other 30 students from all around Paraguay have been selected among a large number of applicants to participate at the 2013 Youth Leadership School organized by “Juventud Que se Mueve (JQM)” or Youth Moves, an organization dedicated to promoting youth social participation in Paraguay.

This opportunity provides a platform for development and exchange of knowledge and learning, and is targeted to young people who want to be actors of social transformation and the strengthening of democracy in Paraguay. It consists of several meetings, camps and forums that will allow students to strengthen their leadership.

These two young ladies have already participated in the first camp, and the exchange experience with other young leaders from the country has been very valuable and rewarding for them. 

They are happy to be able to share this experience with the rest of the students at the Mbaracayú Educational Center, as they continue to build skills to become leaders and agents of change in their communities and the world! 

Thank you to our dear supporters for being part of our student's success and growth!




Apr 17 2013

Promoting Responsible Forest Management at CEM

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Students from the Mbaracayu School participated and are now finalists of the online contest "My connection to the Forest" organized by the Forest Stewardship Council, a global non-profit dedicated to promoting responsible forest management around the world. The contest invited individuals and organizations to create a piece of artwork to raise awareness about the importance of the world's forests and trees, and to celebrate the UN International Day of Forests, held annually on March 21st. The girls at the Mbaracayu School worked during the months of February and March to produce a beautiful artwork representing the Mbaracayu Forest Reserve. This process has been helpful for the girls to learn more about forest conservation and its importance, and about specific steps that can be taken in order to protect the Mbaracayu Forest. It has allowed the students to share their connection with the Mbaracayu Reserve, as this is their HOME. At the same time, it has helped them to become more familiar with the school curriculum in environmental sciences by experiencing the forest and sharing it with the world. The artwork presented by the girls from the school has been selected for the second and final phase of the contest and it has recently been uploaded to a Facebook voting platform where, for the next month, Facebook users have the possibility to access daily and vote for their favorite artwork. The girls at the school are campaigning to get people to vote and they are looking forward to winning the contest! The three pieces of artwork with the most valid votes will win the contest. The Mbaracayu School is currently standing at the second place....! This is an excellent demonstration of the opportunity these young women have to develop significant knowledge and skills in Environmental Sciences as they obtain their Technical High School diploma. It is an opportunity to empower these young girls to take action for the protection of trees and forests in Paraguay and the world. We ask our GlobalGiving friends and supporters to help us by collaborating and voting for the girls' project by accessing the following link: Thank you for your unconditional support!

Dec 13 2012

Mbaracayu Girls' School presents the Class of 2012

Julia Corvalan

For the second time in the still short life of our dear Mbaracayu Girls School of Environmental Entrepreneurs, it is with great pride and honor that we hereby present our Class of 2012.

Tomorrow, Friday December 14th, 2012, 40 girls will say "mission accomplished!" and graduate with many dreams and hopes for a brilliant future, the future of prosperity that they have been preparing for during their 3 years at the school.

The girls will receive a Technical High School Diploma in Environmental Sciences, and from there, some will take jobs, others will pursue further studies, while still others will do both!

The generous contributions collected on the GlobalGiving site made this milestone for our school and for our graduates possible.  Donations allow us to continue to invest in the improvement of the quality of the education provided at the Mbaracayu Girls School, as well as in its school-bases enterprises that make the school sustainable and also provide relevant training opportunities for the girls.

In closing, we invite you to join us in celebrating this beautiful group of girl entrepreneurs, youth of today, future leaders and change agents of tomorrow. They are the change we want to see in our beloved nation!

Congratulations, girls!

Aug 13 2012

Ache student present at historic Presidential Act

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Thursday, July 26, marked a special day for young Claudia Krinagi, a third-year student at the Mbaracayu School coming from the neighboring Ache indigenous community.  Prior to her departure from the school, located in the middle of the Mbaracayu Forest Reserve, 375 kilometres from the capital city of Asuncion, the entire school fare-welled Claudia with pride and cheers of pure joy.  Claudia was on her way to the capital city for the first time in her life to be a guest of honor at a Presidential Act as a representative of her school and her native community.

After what seemed like a never-ending bus journey on rough roads, Claudia made it to the big city.  She traveled with the senior leaders of her Ache community who were all going to see the President of Paraguay for what was announced as a historic event of social justice.

Upon arrival to the Presidential Palace that serves as the President's office, they all held hands as the Act started.  The master of ceremony started by reading the official decree that marked the handing over of the land deed to the Ache community of Koetuvy, village 470 of the Curuguaty district in the Department of Canindeyu.  After President Federico Franco handed over the documentation, hands were shaken and pictures taken by the dozen.   The Ache community could finally celebrate being owners of their land after centuries of lands rights violations.

At a moment of the ceremony, the President hugged Claudia Krinagi and thanked her for coming with her community delegates as a representative of the future leaders of the Ache community.

In the picture you can see Claudia Krinagi in her Mbaracayu School uniform as she greets the President with great joy and excitement.

The Aché people are traditional hunter-gatherers indigenous to the Atlantic coastal forests of eastern Paraguay, primarily in the Mbaracayú region. The Aché population is approximately 1600 people. They have had an uphill battle against human rights violations, land rights violations, and extreme poverty. The school is fortunate to serve several students from the Aché community, and for the students to share their culture with their peers.  

You have the opportunity to support other young women like Claudia in their academic endeavors so that they can be better positioned to support themselves and their families and be empowered as advocates for the community and its traditions. Please consider a recurring monthly donation, or giving a donation to this project as a gift or in honor of someone. Thank you for your continued support! 


May 09 2012

Mbaracayu's Director Honored as International Lead

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Celsa Acosta is an emerging leader and role model for women worldwide. She was bestowed the honor of being nominated by the U.S. State Department to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) hosted by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in The United States. Celsa is recognized for the work she has done over the years to promote youth rights and in her current capacity as the director of the Mbaracayú Girls School. Celsa traveled to the U.S. in March and over the course of three weeks, she and other women leaders from around the globe participated in a professional exchange, including workshops and networking that will enable them to support and encourage each other in a variety of areas centered around women’s rights. In her position as the director of a school that caters to the most vulnerable girls in the country, Celsa is gratified knowing that she continues to build upon a strong base of leadership and transfer that knowledge and passion to the young women she serves at the Mbaracayú.

Celsa is a “mother” to so many young women at the school, along with being a mother to her own two birth children. With Mother’s Day approaching, please consider honoring mothers everywhere with a Global Giving’s Mother’s Day Tribute Card as a gift this year. Global Giving is hosting a campaign from now until March 13, 2012, in which $500 will be awarded to the top 10 projects with the most donors who make donations as gifts during the campaign. Please tell a friend! Together we can continue to turn these girls’ dreams into a reality. Thank you so much for your support. Best wishes to you and to all special moms for a Happy Mother’s Day!

To make a gift for the Mbaracayú Girls School please go to the following link:

To make a gift to provide a scholarship for the Mbaracayú Girls School graduates to go to university please go to the following link:

Apr 04 2012

Girls Fix Impassible Road After Storm

Luis Fernando Sanabria

 This picture depicts the typical conditions of the roads in the region of the school. After a recent storm, the already delicate roads heading out to the school and the hotel were further damaged and became simply inaccessible. As in many rural parts of Paraguay, the roads are not well maintained by the government. Most citizens accept this as their lot in life, but not the young women at the Mbaracayu Girls School. The girls from the school were highly motivated and worked hard to improve the conditions of the road. Not only do these entrepreneurial young women demonstrate how much they care about their school, but they continue to amaze everyone with how much they give to the community at large.

Mar 01 2012

Being a HERO!

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Today is a Paraguayan holiday called “Heroes’ Day”, which memorializes those who have died for the country, especially in the Triple Alliance War in 1870, which pitted the combined forces of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay against Paraguay. After witnessing his army severely weakened, and moments before his death, Paraguay's leader, Marshal Francisco Solano Lopez proclaimed, "I die with my country!" This day honors heroes who have fought for freedom.

We continue to fight for freedom from the chains of poverty for our girls, by offering them an otherwise out-of-reach education, and leveling the playing field for the often overlooked, poor, rural girls of Paraguay. Thank you for being a HERO to these young women and for your continued support!

Feb 08 2012


Luis Fernando Sanabria

Micaela Macan is a spirited poet from a town about 5 hours away from the school. She writes poetry to process the world as she sees it and as an outlet for her feelings. She is from a single parent household, and her mother works long hours cleaning at a local company. She has an 11 year old brother, and suffered the tragic loss of a younger brother due to a venomous snake bite. Micaela is entering her junior year in the school. She remarks that the local school options from her town are limited, and she is grateful to pursue a high quality education. She hopes to go to university one day to study agronomy.

SHARE THE LOVE!  You can help Micaela and others like her complete their high school education and pursue their dreams of going on to university. Please consider making a donation to the Mbaracayú Educational Center as a gift this Valentine’s Day through GlobalGiving. Enjoy a sample of Micaela’s poetry below. Happy Valentine's Day!

TE AMO                                                                                    I LOVE YOU

Si te amo no es                                                                         If I love you it’s not

Porque te lo digo,                                                                       Because I tell you,

Es porque                                                                                 It is because

Me lo dicen.                                                                              They tell me.

Desde el primer instante                                                             From the first moment

En que te he visto                                                                      That I saw you

Me enamore de ti.                                                                      I fell in love with you

Para mi SOS                                                                             You ARE

La primavera porque                                                                   Spring because

Después que te encontré                                                            After meeting you

Mi vida floreció.                                                                         My life blossomed.

Te amo y por                                                                             I love you and

Siempre te amaré.                                                                     I will always love you.               

Alaide Micaela Macan                                                             Alaide Micaela Macan              

Jan 30 2012

Silvani's Splendid Orchid Legacy

Luis Fernando Sanabria

During her time at Mbaracayú, recent graduate Silvani Gimenez’s love for orchids prompted her to develop, oversee, and care for the school’s beautiful display of orchid species found in the Mbaracayú forest. She led an expedition of classmates into the forest and discovered 5 new species of orchids to add to the 26 already documented ones. Her work will be published in the 2012 guide to orchids native to the Mbaracayú forest. Silvani and the other students involved in the study and care of the forest's orchids work closely with Fundación Bertoni in the area of research and conservation.

Silvani comes from a family of eight siblings. Her oldest 4 brothers never had an opportunity to study, while one of her younger sisters, Venancia Gimenez, is a student at Mbaracayu’s Girls School, following in Silvani’s footsteps. Silvani hopes to begin her university studies in February, 2012.


Jan 12 2012


Luis Fernando Sanabria

The Aché people are traditional hunter-gatherers indigenous to the Atlantic coastal forests of eastern Paraguay, primarily in the Mbaracayú region. The Aché population is approximately 1600 people. They have had an uphill battle against human rights violations, land rights violations, and extreme poverty.

The school is fortunate to serve several students from the Aché community, and for the students to share their culture with their peers.  Among our recent graduates, there are seven young Aché women, most are the first ever to finish high school in their families. All seven of them hope to go on to university. They are: Marisa Tykuarangui, Raquel Eiragui, Pablina Myvangi, Rufina Tatugi, Adriana Yapegui, Eulalia Piragui, Yolanda Yacuchangui. The last three are young mothers who made great sacrifices in order to offer their children a better life.

The two young women featured in this photo are Raquel Eiragi, whose brother graduated recently from an affiliated school with an emphasis on agriculture, and Marisa Tykuarangi, who is the first in her family to graduate high school. They worked together on a project that values Aché artisan works, and were chosen by their community to spearhead an Aché artisan cooperative. During their time at the school they have become recognized leaders in the community. Through their initiative, they and other young people in the community have learned from their elders how to create traditional artisan works. They play a crucial role in conserving and valuing Aché cultural traditions, all the while creating income opportunities for their community.

You have the opportunity to support other young women like them in their academic endeavors so that they can be better positioned to support themselves and their families and be empowered as advocates for the community and its traditions. Please consider a recurring monthly donation, or giving a donation to this project as a gift or in honor of someone. Thank you for your continued support!  

Jan 09 2012


Luis Fernando Sanabria

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.

Dec 01 2011


Luis Fernando Sanabria

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. 

Nov 22 2011

Forum for Global Entrepreneurship Week at The Mbaracayu School

Luis Fernando Sanabria

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.  


Oct 13 2011

Homeless World Cup in Paris

Luis Fernando Sanabria

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!  


Oct 12 2011

Vibrant Margarita Off to Market!

Luis Fernando Sanabria

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!


Aug 02 2011

8 girls from the Mbaracayu School make up Team Paraguay for Homeless World Cup 2011

Luis Fernando Sanabria

Last month, 8 students from the Mbaracayu Educational Center were selected to represent Paraguay in this year's Homeless World Cup to take place in Paris, France, from the 21st to the 28th of August.

These girls were drawn from the entire student body of the Mbaracayu Ed Center, a girls-only school comprised of around 144 adolescents.  After announcing the 11 shortlisted players in June, last month the candidates worked even harder to make it to the team.

The players that make up Team Paraguay were selected not only for their football talent, but more importantly, for their leadership skills, attitudes and motivation towards this annual world cup of street soccer.  They are:

  1. Nancy Beatriz Florentín, 17 yrs old
  2. Julia Clavelina Ortiz Busto, 16 yrs old
  3. María Montserrat Oviedo Quintana, 17 yrs old
  4. Sandra Delicia Aguilar Giménez, 17 yrs old
  5. Dora Elizabeth Galeano Galeano, 16 yrs old
  6. Marta Mercedes Noguera, 18 yrs old
  7. Ylsialini Battro Dávalos, 16 yrs old
  8. Bianca Carolina Soares Zucon, 17 yrs old

Please support Team Paraguay get to Paris in a few week's time.  The team is looking for donations to cover certain expenses such as passport issuance, football gear and equipment, first-aid kit, among others.

Your support can really make a difference in these girls' quest to transform their lives through football, team work and shared goals.

We take this opportunity to thank our recurring donors for their continued support.

Go Paraguay!!


Jun 13 2011

Short list for Homeless World Cup Team announced!

Luis Fernando Sanabria

ASUNCIÓN – Paraguay (June 02, 2011).- Fundación Paraguaya held a press conference to announce the short list of players for the Women’s Soccer Team that will represent Paraguay at the Homeless World Cup 2011 to take place in Paris, France, August 21-28. 

The soccer players are students from the Mbaracayú Educational Center located in the Mbaracayú Nature Reserve in the Department of Canindeyú, Paraguay. They were chosen from among the 142 students at the Environmental Sciences Technical High School. In addition to the basic curriculum, the students develop entrepreneurial and business skills through the diverse education for entrepreneurship programs- Junior Achievement and the Self-Financing Education model.

The shortlisted players are: Astrid Yadai Cáceres Portillo from Yrybucuá, Venancia Giménez from Itanará, Dora Elizabeth Galeanos from Britez Cué, Nancy Beatriz Florentín from Villa Ygatimi and Julia Clavelina Ortiz Bustos from 11 de Septiembre. The team also includes: Mariza Tykuarangi from Arroyo Bandera, Marta Mercedes Noguera from Villa Ygatimi, Bianca Caroline Soares from Nueva Esperanza, Sandra Aguilar from 11 de Septiembre, Raquel Airagi from Arroyo Bandera and Montserrat Oviedo from Villa Ygatimi. All are students from low-income rural families who were called to participate due to their skills in the realm of soccer as well as their positive attitudes and sense of camaraderie.

The Homeless World Cup (HWC) is a global street-soccer event that has been held each year since 2003 (Austria 2003, Sweden 2004, Scotland 2005, South Africa 2006, Denmark 2007, Australia 2008, Italy 2009, Brazil 2010, and this year, France).

The organization invited to coordinate the Paraguayan participation in this international tournament is Fundación Paraguaya through its Entrepreneurial Education Program.

The international tournament uses this sport as a catalyst to encourage homeless youth to turn their lives around as well as to change the attitude of governments, the media, society in general and influential individuals to create better solutions for the problems faced by homeless people around the world.

HWC has international partners and allies such as the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Nike, Vodafone Foundation, the United Nations and soccer clubs that support this innovative initiative such as Manchester United from England and Real Madrid from Spain, as well as famous soccer players such as Didier Drogba and Rio Ferdinand.

Mel Young, co-founder of this world-level cup maintains that “more than 70% of the boys experience a favorable change in their lives and more than half have overcome addictions to drugs and alcohol. They have found their place in the educational system and have becomes agents for change in their community.”

The participation of the Paraguayan Women’s Team is enabled through an invitation extended by the organizers who will cover the stay of the players during the tournament, and local sponsors who are providing support by covering travel and equipment costs.

Global Givers can now join the cause in support of the girls' paticipation in this international social soccer competition by making contributions.  

Many thanks in advance to our generous supporters.  Go Paraguay!

Jun 13 2011

2 Bolivian Girls now study at Mbaracayu School

Luis Fernando Sanabria

TARIJA - Bolivia.– The mayor’s office of the town of Uriondo in the Department (i.e., state/province) of Tarija in Bolivia, granted a scholarship to two adolescent girls from the community to attend the Technical High School Program in Environmental Sciences at the Mbaracayu Educational Center in the Department of Canindeyu, Paraguay.  The grantees are Edyza Ruiz, 15 years of age from the community of Miscas, Bolivia,  and Teresa Contreras, 16, from a community called Cruce del Valle in Bolivia, which lies close to the international highway towards the border with Argentina.

"Edyza is the daughter of a farming family. She told us she loves to read, travel and play soccer. At home they have a family vegetable garden where she worked and helped her parents", explained Celsa Acosta, Director of the Mbaracayu Educational Center.

"Teresa Contreras also comes from a farming family. She is passionate about animals and although she misses her community a lot she is adapting", said the Director.

The municipality of Uriondo in Tarija, Bolivia called on the best female students through the local press. After several meetings with parents and the students, the selection was made. Scholarships were given to Edyza and Teresa, who will live with another 150 girls who live and study at the Mbaracayu Educational Center.

This strengthens the relations between Fundacion Paraguaya's Self-Sufficient Schools Program and the town of Uriondo, which had sent a significant delegation to participate in the December 2010 graduation ceremony at the San Francisco Agricultural School, another Fundacion Paraguaya-run school in the Chaco region of the country. Among the graduates was Abednego Bolivar from Uriondo, Tarija.

The Mbaracayú Sustainable Development Educational Center is an undertaking of Fundación Moisés Bertoni and Fundación Paraguaya offering a technical high school diploma in Environmental Sciences to girls from low-income families of Canindeyú. It promotes entrepreneurship seeking to transform these girls born into smallholder families into agents leading sustainable development. The 150 students are girls from the Aché indigenous ethnic group, as well as from Paraguayan, Brazilian and Brazilian-Paraguayan smallholder families.

Dec 09 2010

Making Tourism Sustainable!!!

Anna Kersting

Dear Friends,

Great news!!! Join us in celebrating the opening of the Mbaracayu Hotel, a small rural lodge fully run and operated by a vibrant group of women and girls.

The hotel adds another on-campus microenterprise to the Mbaracayu Educational Centre. Its income will be directed towards the financial self-sufficiency of this unique girls’ school, while also serving as another hands-on practical training platform for the female student body. 

The guest and hospitality services provided by the Mbaracayu Hotel build on the “learning by doing and earning” strategy of the school, helping the girls to tap their potential and to transform themselves into self-managing, empowered rural entrepreneurs.

We are proud to present the hotel’s first promotional flyer, put together by the girls themselves.

Please help us spread the word about this unique place in the heart of an exuberant UNESCO-recognized South American forest reserve.

Our GlobalGiving supporters are most welcomed to try out something different for their holidays this year, or the next!

Thanks again and we will keep you updated.

Dec 07 2010

8 students represented Paraguay at HWC in Rio!!!

Anna Kersting

Every year, nations from all over the world come together and compete in the "Homeless World Cup". An annual soccer tournament that aims to fight different social problems and that offers every player the opportunity to positively change their lives.

This year 8 girls from the Mbaracayú Centre represented Paraguay at the Homeless World Cup 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

For each of the girls, having lived in extreme poverty, the tournament represented a unique opportunity and a life changing experience. Most of them had never even traveled inside of Paraguay. Actually, 4 players had never been in the possession of a national identity cart that stated who they are, until one week before the tournament. Now they are able to proudly possess a card that is their own and that allows them to travel, have proof of their identity, open a bank account, access health care, get a loan, vote for a community leader and many more advantages.

To be part of an international tournament and to act as a representative of their country made them feel very proud, as they finally felt that they are recognized for the virtues and their skills, and for who they are.

After one intense and exciting week of playing soccer, uniting in an international city, learning about new cultures, sharing experiences, celebrating diversity and making friends from all around the world, the 8 girls returned to the School. They will tell their classmates about the impressions they gained. Each one of them will tell her own personal story to their families and their communities. And like that, little by little, the story of each one of them will convince other poor rural Paraguayan girls that it is possible to change one’s destiny..............

Oct 07 2010

CEM Student at International Entrepreneur Forum in

Anna Kersting

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.”

Oct 07 2010

Mbaracayu Story & Update

Anna Kersting

A big thanks to all of our supporters!!!

The donations given so far have made an enormous contribution to the Mbaracayu Centre’s mission and vision: A girl’s school that all local girls can attend, regardless of income. A school that is a functioning farm, where girls grow the school’s revenue stream – and become agricultural professionals, gaining skills and expertise that their farm worker fathers never had. A school that is fine-tuned to the needs of girls and that will support itself in five years. That is our vision: a triple bottom line of social, economic and environmental returns for the entire community.

Currently, a bit more than 100 girl students between the age of 14 and 20 are attending the first and second grade of the school’s technical high school program. The location of the Centre is unique, as it brings together girls from different countries, cultures, origins and identities. Students are girls from Paraguayan, Brazilian and Brazilian-Paraguayan smallholder families, as well as from a local indigenous ethnic indigenous group, the Aché.

Coming from families that live on less than 2 dollars a day, these girls are confronted with extreme poverty. Especially in this area of the country, women have always faced a very sad and uncertain life, due to a lack of support, resources, education and opportunities. They are constantly exposed to the pressures of their communities to either find a job and to bring home money for their families, or to marry a rich man, and thus, be “set up for life”. Most of the girls are therefore used to an environment in which there is only little motivation to become educated. Particularly hard is the fate of most indigenous women. 90 percent of the indigenous people, like the Aché of Paraguay are pregnant by the age of 14. A 15 year-old girl named Claudia was the first Aché girl from her village to ever attend high school. Claudia’s mother actually wanted to send her daughter to the Mbaracayu School in order to prevent her from becoming pregnant. “All my cousins and friends have babies. So they cannot go on to finish high school. I am the only one who is not pregnant yet.”

On February 24, 2010, the Mbaracyu Forest School for girls began its second year. Fifty new girls from the poorest families in South America started school that day. A lot of people did not believe in us and predicted that our school would not make it to the second year. We proved them wrong. Our challenge now is to grow, so next year we will have 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade all together, to release the first class of graduates from our school and to achieve self-efficiency. These are big and challenging tasks, but our results so far show, that it is possible and that our dream is achievable.

Please keep on supporting us and help us to create the conditions the girls need to tap their potentials and to become self-confident rural entrepreneurs…..