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Arts & Crafts

A Death in the Family

Thank you to all of those who donated on Razoo to help one of our silk painters, Venez Kasimir.  It is with great sadness that we are sharing this update from Ellen Lebow.

December Update

Dear friends of Matènwa,

It is always with great heart-felt happiness and gratitude that the Matènwa Community Learning Center (MCLC) direction committee, staff, and parents share with you some of the activities we were able to do this past month.

In November we had three full days of pedagogical training by our regional Educational Inspector, Jonès Lagrandeur.  Twenty five teachers participated – a combination of MCLC teachers and teachers from our 11 outreach schools.   We focused on three areas:  the State Curriculum, how to prepare lessons, and how to best present lessons.

Third Assembly: The kids confidently use this space to bring attention to positive and difficult things they are encountering in school.

The Arts:  The younger kids are learning how to weave and the older kids are learning how to embroider.

The Garden:  We have carrots, tomatoes, and cabbage in the garden beds right now.  In December they will be ready to eat as part of school breakfast.

Music:  The younger classes are learning to sing new songs.  The older students are learning to play drums, which they love.


Ezner Angervil, MCLC Direction Committee

Translated by : Chris Low, Exec. Director, Friends of Matènwa

March Update 2011

Bonjou dear friends of MCLC,


Three teachers, the principal, and 2 bi-racial students who served as translators, visited from Fayerweather Street School. They brought new Mother Tongue Books made by their pre-k through 4th grade students. They brought and taught strategy games for which we had asked. They provided guidance on class management and how to make our lessons more concrete. We worked with microscopes looking at water drops and vegetable tissue.

Local Arts Center

Several adults and students are engaged in weaving trash receptacles and chairs, embroidering bags and clothes. We feel confident this project will eliminate our plastic trash problem by encouraging neighbors to buy local goods.

Open Space

We had a Saturday meeting with teachers and community members from Gransous, Bwanwa, Masikren, and Matènwa. The theme was: How do we build a democratic community? The discussion topics that emerged were very interesting. “Can a community develop in the midst of conflict? What is democracy? Can a community develop when there discrimination?

Whole School Meeting

Students share their feelings about what went well at school and didn’t go well for them, praising each other for positive behavior. After that several classes share something they have been working on in their classroom.

MCLC Friends, we hope you are pleased to receive this information.

Direction Committee Secretary Millienne Angervil

Translated by Chris Low

September Update

We will never stop thanking you for your huge support that allowed us to successfully finish the 2009-2010 academic year. Since August 1 we started preparing for October which is when the new school year will start. We are doing construction and repairs while the children are on vacation. Our Local Arts Center, a set of 5 one-room structures, is almost finished. One room has a cistern below its floor; the other four are round rooms awaiting grass roofs. We put a brand new gutter on the round building.

We are making headway with our efforts to promote the use of Creole books in other schools. The local government school inspector has asked the 50 schools he oversees to use books in Creole through the third grade. We already bought new Creole schoolbooks from KOPAVIT L’Action Sociale thanks to a grant from Rotary. In the garden we have eggplants and hot peppers ready for sale.


Secretary Millienne Angervil
Co-director Abner Sauveur

July Update

MCLC is evaluating itself this month as another school year comes to a close. We only had 14 preschoolers this year in our 4 year olds class. We assume that this is a sign that efforts to educate our community on children’s rights and sexual reproduction have reduced the number of births in our area. This in turn has reduced the number of Matènwa children that might have become restavèks (children that are given away to other families to work in exchange for some food, shelter, clothing, and an education but end up having their rights violated). This year Famn Kouraj intervened in defense of two restavèk children, moving them to other Matènwa families where they would not be verbally abused or physically punished.

Next fall we are opening our preschool to 3 and a half year olds and housing it at our new local arts quad, which consists of four free standing circular grass huts and one free standing music room. We are planning to rotate the children through several activities each day: music, science and gardening, storytelling, recreation, art and math, each headed up by a different specialist. This model is inspired by Child Friendly Space that we observed in an AMURT school in Port au Prince.

We are looking to recruit two volunteers: one Creole Speaking and one French Speaking to do Pre-K to 6 grade teacher training for one year. Please spread the word.

Thank you,

Chris Low
Co-director, Matènwa Community Learning Center

April Update

Dear Friends of MCLC,

It is always a pleasure for us to write to you to thank you for your gifts. We also want to say hello to you and your families and tell of our last month’s activities.
We felt hopeful that rains would come earlier this year as the first evening rains came the last week of February, but then they dissipated. Many people have prepared garden beds for vegetables and have gotten their corn and bean seeds into the ground. Now we wait for sufficient rain. In addition to the doubling of food prices, President Preval says that we are about to face real inflation. We want to send a special thank you to our breakfast sponsors: you keep our children from severe hunger each month.
Teachers Lisa Brown and Valerie Bell from Nauset High School (Massachusetts, USA) gave seminars on class management, brain gym, and geography for our staff.
We said goodbye to three teachers from Segen after their 10 week teacher training. They learned to teach without hitting, dialogue with students, use Reflection Circles and Open Space, and make their own books and games. They saw how a school could help the whole community work together for change.
Our Local Arts Collaborative was awarded a grant from the Women to Women Committee of the Episcopal Church Women. The collaborative will expand their products that can be locally produced, bought, and sold with home grown materials. The artists are presently making straw hats that the children will proudly wear to promote local goods at our Flag Day celebration on May 18.

We end this month’s report with a Haitian expression of praise: Ayibobo!

Co-directors Chris and Abner
Secretary Millienne