The San Francisco Agriculture School: the basis of our model
The San Francisco Agriculture School is located at Km 46.5 of the Ruta Transchaco in the town of Cerrito, the Department of President Hayes (Paraguayan Chaco). The students who conclude their studies at our School earn two diplomas: High School Diploma as an Agriculture/Livestock Technician and as a Hotel and Tourism Technician.
In order to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship in rural youth and provide them with high quality and accessible education, the School has almost 7000 m2 (75,347 sq. ft.) of buildings consisting of classrooms, library, computer lab, administrative and academic area, multi-purpose hall, student cooperative, dining hall, soccer field, men and women’s dormitories, and restroom facilities, among other installations.
On the 62 hectares (153 acres) of the property on which the school is located, hands-on work is done accordingly at the different productive units, among which are: raising goats, layer hens and broilers, dairy and milk processing plant, bio-intensive vegetable gardening, extensive cropping, raising swine, beekeeping, a tree nursery, as well as the Hotel, called Cerrito.
The School’s students have so far come from eight Departments of our country as well as from Argentina, Bolivia, Haiti and Ecuador.
Among the greatest achievements of the School are:
• 100% employability: all graduates are working in the agriculture-livestock sector, continuing their studies or have set up their own rural microenterprise.
• 100% financial self-sufficiency: 2011 was the fifth consecutive year the School covered its entire budget.
• 100% market-oriented curriculum: young rural graduates earn two diplomas upon completion of their studies; this is unique in the country.
• 100% business plans and credit lines: to graduate, students must draft a business plan for which a credit line is allotted for future implementation.
It is important to point out that all these goals are aspirations for the other schools as well, and they are sustainably met based on a lot of effort and work.
Mbaracayu Educational Center
The Mbaracayu Educational Center is located in the Mbaracayu Forest Nature Reserve near Villa Ygatymí in the Department of Canindeyú, about 375 Km from Asunción. This Center opened its doors in 2009 and is an initiative of Fundación Paraguaya in alliance with Fundación Moisés Bertoni, the owner of the Center, and Fundación Mbaracayu, which owns the property.
Fundación Paraguaya contributes the educational model of Self-Sufficient Schools, seeking to replicate the San Francisco School, but exclusively targeting young rural and indigenous girls. At the beginning this School had support from Nike Foundation.
The graduates from this Center earned a High School diploma in Environmental Sciences as Technicians in 2011. The students of the Center come from the Mbaracayu Forest Biosphere Reserve and their origins are varied: from rural smallholder Paraguayan families, indigenous girls from the Aché, Avá Guaraní and Toba Qom ethnic groups, Brazilians and “Brazilian-Paraguayans.” Since 2011 they were joined by girls from Bolivia.
Belén Agriculture School
Fundación Paraguaya took over the administration of the Belén Agriculture School in 2010. Ceded to the Fundación by Aldeas Infantiles SOS, it is located at Km 21 of the new part of Ruta 5 in the District of Belén, Department of Concepción. This school is dedicated to training Agriculture-Livestock Promoters from different rural organizations of the country. The idea is that through the technical and methodological skills they acquire they will be able to support sustainable rural development in their communities.
The young men and women over the age of 18 who attend the School receive training in theory and practice in: beekeeping, orchard growing, milk production, crop farming, raising swine, horticulture, hotel management and tourism, marketing, business plans and entrepreneurship. At the same time they take courses oriented to immediate job insertion such as artificial insemination techniques, and ranch hand responsibilities, among others.
San Pedro Agriculture School
The Farm, located in the urban area of the District of San Pedro del Ycuamandyyu, the Department of San Pedro, has 90 hectares (222 acres). In 2011, the Bishopric of San Pedro transferred the Farm for a term of 20 years to Fundación Paraguaya.
The main objective was to install a Self-Sufficient Training Center to provide accessible and high quality education to the young men and women of this Department, which has one of the highest rates of youth exodus of all the Departments. The very year of start-up, the students trained with the Banks in Action program imparted by the Entrepreneurial Education Program of Fundación Paraguaya and got the highest points at the national level.