We are excited that GreaterGood.org brought themselves and The MAD Girls,The Other Side Campaign, Dream Weaver Foundation, and Affinity.is to Matènwa. Eighteen people made the trek to the island of Lagonav, Haiti. After meeting with teachers, directors, students, and families it was clear that this was just the beginning of a long relationship. Together we are planning for a revolutionary change in Haitian education. These organizations will support us to continue and expand our work in training teachers to make participatory, democratic, peaceful classrooms; make organic vegetable gardens and compost; increase access to water, improve animal husbandry; and provide education through high school.
Every one of our supporters are important to us. We are attracting help from new friends, including the Haitian Ministry of Human Rights and Extreme Poverty, but those who have been dedicated monthly or annual donors,it is you who have brought us to where we are today. Your donations are what keep the model preschool and elementary school going. You are the founders and visionaries. Without you, MCLC would never have become the magnet that it is today. We have managed to change the lives of the Matènwa community. We have begun to touch and change other eager teachers in other communities. My hope is that you all hold the dream to stop the violence in all 200+ schools on Lagonav. It is now within reach. Please continue to support Matènwa.
Established fifteen years ago on the island of La Gonave, off of mainland Haiti, the Matènwa Community Learning Center is increasingly viewed a source of educational innovation that deserves to be replicated throughout Haiti. The emphasis at the school is problem-solving, not rote-learning, nor bullwhip-driven discipline. Education is combined with being in harmony with the environment. Reflections circles give students a real voice, and is a forum where they learn to listen to each other. Education at Matènwa is about growing thinkers who can have an impact on their community and the lives of many others.
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.
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.
We thank you for our dedication to the vital work happening in the Matènwa Community. Haggerty School (Cambridge, Massachusetts) librarian, Karen Kosko, connected us to FACES children’s magazine. We have been working on two projects: one featuring 10 students between the ages of 9 – 14 and one longer photo interview of a junior high student for FACES’ Fall 2011 publication.
My name is Peter-Frantz. I am eleven years old. I was born and raised in Haiti. I live in Nan Jozen, La Gonave. My school has a library where I can do research. I like Haiti very much because it has a beautiful culture and a beautiful language: Creole. I like to drink coffee because the Haitian coffee is the number one coffee in the world. In my country people have lots of respect for others regardless of where you are from. I am proud to be Haitian.
MIT linguist professor, Michel DeGraff, has a grant this year to work on technology-enhanced and Kreyòl-based education. He is currently at the stage of working with an evolving team of educators and programmers to produce a suite of Kreyòl and computer-based games for the teaching of 4th grade math. He has been working with the MCLC teachers this year, having made four visits to the site so far to brainstorm and plan a controlled experiment to evaluate the effects of such games.
Michel is still looking for more programmers with knowledge of Kreyòl and 4th grade math, further down the road we’ll need help from researchers familiar with Haiti, educational technology and experience in assessing educational interventions.
The Driscoll Extended Day Program (DEDP) is a non-profit after school program that takes place at the Michael Driscoll School in Brookline, MA. Every year DEDP hosts a charity craft fair–this year the program was happy to donate to the Matènwa Community Learning Center, having been particularly impressed with MCLC’s multi-faceted approach to helping its community. Through the yearly event, teachers hope their students will start and continue on a path of social responsibility.
Kids from Kindergarten through 5th grade worked from September to late November making crafts, baking sweets, and selling raffle tickets for the event. Teachers from the program donated gift certificates and services to be raffled off. The event was a huge success, and the students involved were genuinely interested to learn about the people they were helping in Haiti.