Daughters of the Forest is a documentary film about a group of high school girls in Paraguay, located in one of the most remote forests left on earth, who at school, learn to protect the threatened forest and forge a better future for themselves.
Set in the wild and lush Mbaracayú Reserve in rural Paraguay, Mbaracayú Forest Girls’ School is surrounded by a region of South America in which more than 95% of the forest has been razed for multi-national agri-businesses.
More than 80% of the people in the Mbaracayú region live in extreme poverty, and nearly 90% of the teenage girls become pregnant by the age of 16, then drop out of school.
Filmed over the course of five years, Daughters of the Forest follows a small group of pupils from their humble homes in indigenous villages through to the year after their graduation to see exactly how their revolutionary educational opportunity has and will continue to impact their lives.
The film shows how Mbaracayú Forest Girls’ School is a place where 150 girls are becoming some of the most financially literate young people in South America — not just because they learn economics along with all of the other traditional subjects, but because they are putting what they learn into practice.
The girls run numerous successful businesses — from a hotel for eco-tourists to a stevia farm that produces natural sweetener sold in the United States and a tree nursery that sells millions of seedlings a year to a national reforestation program — businesses that not only help fund the school, but fund scholarships for the girls to start their own businesses when they graduate.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea