PARAGUAY: Environmental project to reach 11,000 students
Salesians launch project to include environmental education in 18 schools
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Province of Mary Most of Holy Assumption in Paraguay has launched the “Practical Implementation of Strategic Environmental Guidelines in Paraguayan Schools” project to include environmental education in 18 schools, two of which are public schools. The project will reach 11,000 students.
Beyond direct education for youth, the project will also engage in reforestation in various areas of the country, the installation of a photovoltaic solar plant, developing the school gardens, construction of water basins to facilitate recycling of water and the installation of differentiated containers for segregated waste management in schools.
“After the successful experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of the environmental education pilot project within Salesian educational institutions, we have decided to continue on this path of ecological conversion, forming good Christians and honest citizens committed to caring for our common home,” said María José Llamosas, an environmental engineer and project coordinator. “Our intention is to be able to have a real and profound impact on the local communities in which each of these educational institutions operates.”
Students were excited by the pilot project and are ready to engage in its continuation. David Núñez, a third-year agricultural student at the Carlos Pfannl Salesian Institute, said, “Within the institute we have a cattle production unit that produces organic waste in large quantities. We treat this organic matter to reduce the negative impact it can have on the environment, and then we use it for other extensive productions, in the nursery for reforestation and in the production of various articles.”
The initiative is implemented by the Salesian Province of Paraguay and the Antonia Ruut Foundation of Germany, with the support of Global Engagement (Service for Development Initiatives) and funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Salesian missionaries have been working in Paraguay since establishing a church in Asunción in 1896. Paraguay is among the poorest countries in South America. According to UNICEF, almost 23% of its population of 6.5 million people lives in poverty earning less than $1 per day. The gap between the small upper class and the large lower class is extreme and offers virtually no social mobility.
Conditions of poverty drive youth into early labor and a lack of literacy, in addition to a weak educational foundation, compounds the problem. Those in poverty face overcrowding, low quality housing and a lack of access to basic household services. Paraguayans who only graduate from primary school are twice as likely to live in poverty as those who have access to and complete secondary school.
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Salesian Missions – Paraguay
UNICEF – Paraguay
World Bank – Paraguay