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Courageous Women

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.

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

May Update

May 18th was Flag Day. Parents, teachers and students prepared a day of festivities starting with the whole school parading up and down the Matènwa road.

Ezner leads the 8th graders for the Flag Day parade.

Ezner leads the 8th graders for the Flag Day parade.

Bonise and Chrislene line up their kindergarten class for the parade.

Bonise and Chrislene line up their kindergarten class for the parade

  • “Flag Day makes me think of how we used to be enslaved but we broke those chains of slavery.
  • “Even though we are free, we are still not totally free because we are dependent on other countries.”
  • “We are an occupied country.”
  • “Perhaps we are physically free but not mentally free.”
  • “Our French education system is still colonizing us.”

After much music and food everyone moved outside to watch our soccer match.  The sun set with clouds moving in, promising rain.

MCLC Soccer Game

MCLC Soccer Game

Through The Haiti Twinning Program of Richmond, Virginia MCLC has a partnership with Lunchburg College.  Kona, studying development, from Brown University (center)was visiting to see our arts programs.

Through The Haiti Twinning Program of Richmond, Virginia MCLC has a partnership with Lynchburg College. Kona, studying development, from Brown University (center)was visiting to see our arts programs.

We hosted a Lynchburg College group, and one student from Brown University.  We welcomed back Owen, a Lesley College student doing cultural and language immersion for the next 3 months. He is volunteering in our computer lab.

Matènwa artists and popular theatre performers for child rights: ( front to back)Maculese, Luciane, and Sonit, previously restaveks themsleves, attend the Mwen Se Ayiti Tou conference.

Matènwa artists and popular theatre performers for child rights: ( front to back)Maculese, Luciane, and Sonit, previously restaveks themsleves, attend the Mwen Se Ayiti Tou conference.

Members of Courageous Women, Women Artists of Matènwa and MCLC attended a conference of over 500 people called “Mwen se Ayiti Tou” (I am Haiti Too) sponsored by the Jean Robert Cadet Restavek Freedom Foundation and the Maurice Sixto Foundation. The conference was a call to action to end the Restavek system in Haiti. This event encouraged us in our work to promote dialogue and non-violence in our communities.

Sincerely, Co-directors Chris and Abner, Secretary Millienne