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Garden School at Trouin

After educators from Trouin came for a week long training they return to their school very motivated to integrate gardening into their curriculum. They shared these pictures and exclaimed, “We are going to make a garden better than Matènwa’s!” Now that is the healthy competitive spirit that we were hoping for. There are sparks of our work lighting up in every direction around Haiti. This map shows where teachers have come from this past year on the mainland to be trained.

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Photos of the garden school at St. Marc’s School,Trouin, Haiti with Frantzcin Avril, a teacher at St Marc’s school who helps the students in the garden.Frantzcin Avril







Making Calendars

After observing at MCLC, principles from Mount Fleury school and Lavanneau school returned energized to train their own teachers.Teachers are making calendar and attendance charts for their classrooms.

After observing at MCLC, principles from Mount Fleury school and Lavanneau school returned energized to train their own teachers.Teachers are making calendar and attendance charts for their classrooms.

December 2014 Update

Dear friends of Matènwa,

MCLC wishes a very happy holiday season to you and your loved ones! In this last update for the year, we want to share some of the activities that brought joy to the students and teachers.

image1Though the Haitian National Scope and Sequence requires one to teach earth science, very few schools in the country teach it using hands-on methods. At MCLC each class is responsible for its own garden plot that students have to water and maintain. They use it for researching and learning about math and science, including their own nutrition! The first graders have been studying caterpillars that they found in the garden. The students and teachers from all grades have been working together to remove the caterpillars since they can devastate a garden in no time. Some students were afraid of them, but many bravely participated in removing them.

Oh, the joy of music class!
Music is just as important to MCLC as the garden. The students enjoy music class very much where they have the opportunity to play different instruments. Many students love the conga drum because it is a very common instrument here and easy for them to learn. (In the picture, second graders are learning to play the conga.) Some other favorite instruments are the guitar, keyboard, and the contemporary drum set.

Keeping the joy of reading alive
The kindergarterners go to the library 3 times a week. It is one of their favorite activities because on a typical day, the librarian reads a book to them and leads a lively discussion about it. Then they get to pick books to look at. Demonstrating pre reading strategies, all “read” the illustrations aloud, and a few of them read the actual words (See pic). To cultivate and maintain this joy of reading, classes grades 1 to 10 go to the library once a week, where each student picks a book to check out. They read these books during classroom silent reading time.

What a joy to see those eggs every morning!
Secondary classes, 7th to 10th grades, have been doing a great job of keeping their chicken coops clean and their hens properly feed and hydrated. It is a joy to see fresh eggs every morning. This month the Matènwa agronomy intern gave the high schoolers a lecture on the benefits of eggs in the human diet. They learned that eggs are rich in proteins and vitamins, but consuming too many can increase the risk of certain health problems.

Chris Low, Executive Director FOM & Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC 12/2014

2nd October Update

I spoke with the National Educational Inspector for the island of Lagonav the other day. He gave me the passing sixth grade national exam passing rates for all the schools across Lagonav so we could compare the numbers from the year before LKM began intervening in three of the four geographical zones on Lagonav, to now. The numbers are breath taking.All FOM volunteers and supporters should feel proud of their participation in making this a reality. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for continuing to better the lives of many children in Haiti. Less suffering, more learning, more hope, and more nurturing of children’s curiosities.


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Sad News

Robert Cajuste spent time learning from Fayerweather teachers, Atrium teachers, Belmont Day School teachers and Cambridge Public School teachers when he came up to Boston through the Fayerweather/Friends of Matènwa teacher Exchange Program. Fayerweather visitors spent time learning about silk painting and Matènwa’s women’s and child right’s initiatives through plays where Janose played the role of Ti Fifi, as a child domestic slave.

Robert and Janose’s daughter, 18 year old Sophia Cajuste, died in her sleep yesterday. We assume it was an aneurism. There will be no autopsy to ever know for sure. What we do know is that Sophia suffered from seizures. Her family bought seizure medication and brought her to the hospital for refills. They never realized the severity of the decease, they did not know that it was vital to take the medication daily. They bought it when they could afford. Refilling the prescription cost more than just the refill. One is required to travel to the hospital with the child each month and have a consultation in order to get the refill. The cost of the visit and the transportation down and back up the mountain for mother and child is often more than the medication itself.10404134_391216121031570_2166535523467530714_n-1

Sophia is the eldest of three daughters. She leaves Lori and Shoodlie.564765_111203975699454_1154442890_n

The Matènwa Community Learning Center helps defray the costs of funerals of members of the school community. If you would like to contribute to the fund for such emergencies please either donate through the website or send contributions to FOM, 91 Aberdeen Ave. Cambridge, MA 02138.

Thank you,


November 2014 Update

Dear friends of Matènwa,

We cannot thank you enough for your part in creating a model school that students and their families love, and from which other schools are eager to learn.

image1Though students and teachers are now very familiar with the garden routines—with each class going there once a week to do different types of science activities— it still remains a place of great excitement, learning, and discovery for all. There is always something new to study, or a new visitor to work with. Last month, the secondary students had the opportunity to learn about turnips with a student agronomist from Port-au-Prince, one of the Matènwa interns this semester. They learned about the uses and benefits of turnips, how they are rich in vitamins, and can help combat many diseases.

Training Program Expands
image2Through a new partnership with Beyond Borders, we are training more schools on Lagonav on our key educational methods and practices. This past month, 39 directors and teachers from 7 schools in the Bouziyèt area attended two 5-day training sessions at image3MCLC on school gardens, classroom preparation and management, MTB reading and writing, and the Haitian National Scope and Sequence for different academic subjects. The purpose of these trainings is to improve student learning and teaching quality through: 1) the use of Creole as the language of instruction, 2) hands-on learning activities that integrate agriculture into different subjects, and 3) positive, non-violent student-teacher relationships.

image4Many of the teachers and directors admitted to having used corporal punishment at their schools, but openly committed to stop. Prior to the training, they believed that physical discipline was necessary in order to educate children. By the end, however, they concluded that it accomplishes the opposite. With the knowledge gained through these trainings, they now feel capable to start managing their classrooms without physical or verbal abuse.

image5Once they had come to this conclusion, they started to focus on how to build better learning environments. They had a chance to see the different materials displayed in the MCLC classrooms and they began to create some posters for their own classrooms even before leaving the training! We were pleased to see their enthusiasm. They also noted that displaying their students’ work and other materials on the classroom walls will motivate their students to be more invested in the curriculum and the work they produce.

Chris Low, Executive Director FOM
Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC