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Paraguay's San Francisco Self-Sustaining Agricultural School

Some of you may be aware that we are in transition in our ministry here. As of last month, Norberto is no longer the director of Radio Alternativa 92.7 Christian radio station.  He has turned over the leadership to a local pastor.  The radio has been self-sustaining since Sept. 08 and we are very confident that the radio will continue to grow and impact many lives with national leadership.

Over the next few months we'll be sharing with you more about our vision for our next steps in ministry and we'll give a spotlight to each of the activities we're working on, including the visit we made here this week:


We've been wanting to visit Escuela Agricola San Francisco in Cerrito, Paraguay for over 18 months.  We first discovered them when they were highlighted in the national newspaper for being one of the world's finalist for the BBC World Challenge 2008 and they won second place!   Finally, we were able to make the long trek to low Chaco to take tons of notes and get ideas from this model school owned and operated by Fundacion Paraguaya.

It is a self-sustaining school that is currently teaching 160 young Paraguayans who have finished ninth grade (aged 16-20) new techniques in farming and animal husbandry.  Its three year program gives students exposure to all areas of farming in the first year and in their second and third years the structure gives the students an opportunity to create and become entrepreneurs by being in charge of the seven different sectors of farm (poultry, pigs, goats and cows, milk and cheese production, garden, carpentry, tool and die, composting, and research in bio fuels).  The picture you see is cow dung used to fuel their gas stove in the kitchen.  They also the same resource for their composting, their garden, and organic soil production (using imported worms). 


They opened up a store on the highway to sell their products (including dulce de leche, cheddar cheese, and a wide variety of produce) to locals and have opened up a quaint hotel on the property to tourists who want to experience "life on the farm." These operations are run by students to give them practical, hands-on experience as they prepare to enter the workforce.
 

These third year students are studying carpentry.


Bio-intensive Garden using techniques from Mexico

Students spend one week in the classroom and the next week working in their area of interest.  They receive specialized training through professionals that give roughly 10 workshops each month.   Upon graduation, the students receive a micro-loan or one-time stipend, if their project is approved, to begin their dream of making a dignified living. 

Why was this visit so important to us?  This is very similar to the model we want to utilize in our leadership training school that we are projecting to open in 2011 (Lord willing!).  However, we want to add the crucial elements of Christian character development, leadership training and Bible study.

These are exciting times for us as we prepare for this new stage in our ministry!  Will you pray for us as we continue to glean insights as to what specialties will work best in our region.  Also, would you consider joining us for the resources necessary to purchase or rent land to employ the agricultural side of our training.  Our hope is to see a new generation of Paraguayans live out their God-given dreams and become strong leaders in the church, community, and the world.

Comments

  1. Exciting stuff! Now to Him who is ABLE to do abundantly above all that you can ask or think...praying with you for miracles!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! That sounds like an amazing school! And your ideas about a leadership training school similar to that sounds great as well...may God lead and guide you in your plans!

    ReplyDelete

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