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April 2015 Update

April 2015

Dear friend of Matènwa,

Our latest update is here! Please read and share the great news coming from Matènwa with friends and family. More and more trainings are happening, and more people are coming to see what’s all the buzz around our model is about.

Disaster Training and Community Empowerment
m8To increase knowledge of disaster risk and preparedness, Nickson Jean Louis, a principal in our LKM school network, facilitated a training for secondary school students and teachers. He covered how individuals can protectlapril15 2april15themselves and assist others during a natural hazard or major accident. He said that people who are injured during a disaster sometimes die because untrained rescuers lack the proper lifting and carrying techniques to safely transport them.
Sometimes, these rescuers end up causing even more damage to victims. He demonstrated how to help those injured or trapped under debris or rubble and then had participants practice several techniques of how one or two persons can carry an injured person.m7m5m4

Now, the MCLC community has been empowered to take effective action during a disaster.

3april15m3Beyond Borders, CARE, and
the Haitian Ministry of Education Visit Matènwa

Last month we had three very special groups of visitors. Beyond Borders’ Board of Directors spent three days talking with MCLC’s Direction Committee, observing the learning during various school activities, and conducting site visits at schools that we are training with their funds. Following these visits, David Diggs, the executive director of Beyond Borders, reported that one of the teachers was talking about how they were uncomfortable with the corporal punishment they used to use but didn’t have an alternative model until they observed at MCLC. “We need to find a way to apologize to our kids,” the teacher said sincerely. It was an impressive transformative shift in the teachers’ attitudes towards physical discipline. m2

Sarah Muffy, a Fulbright-Clinton fellow, whois currently working with the Haitian Ministry of Education, is researching how reading is taught in Haiti. After her classroom observations and some teacher interviews, Sarah commented, “Your teaching methods are very active, they help your students read and write very fast.”m1 She encouraged us to always remember that every student learns differently; some need to use all their senses to learn. We welcome such reminders to tailor our teaching to meet each students’ needs.

Mr. Jonès Lagrandeur, the educational inspector for Lagonav invited CARE’s National Coordinator and two other Care staff to come see MCLC because they were looking for effective ways to train teachers in non-violent education. One of the CARE staff said, “I am really happy about the work that MCLC is doing on Lagonav. Without a doubt, this type of high-quality education will help students become independent learners.” CARE now wants to develop a partnership with MCLC.

Chris W. Low, Executive Director FOM
Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC

Cap Haitian in Northern Haiti

Teachers from this new school came for a 2 week training in early September. Funded by HHA, this is a lovely garden they now have as a result.IMAG0224







March 10, 2015

We have a garden that the kids work and learn in.
Our teachers are fabulous because they understand the Matenwa
They have class rules but are also gentle at the same time.
They plan each day ahead of time, have teacher meetings and parent
meetings regularly.FullSizeRender[12]IMG_7361IMG_5470IMG_4990IMG_4976

They definitely want to come in the summer for continuing
education/training. IMG_4915




September 30, 2014

We had our “whole school” family meeting a couple weeks ago!
We registered 51 children (ages 3-6) for Pre-K and Kindergarten. NONE (we’re in a very poor community) of the parents, guardians could read or write to complete their childs application.
It was a little chaotic as we helped them fill in the blanks. Controlled chaos.
We asked them all to return two days later so that we could explain the Matenwa methodology, uniforms, tuition etc.
At that meeting we had over 100 parents, guardians, children. As I was explaining that we would teach in Kreyol, the reasons why, introduce French as a foreign language..
One father turned to all of the Haitian adults and said “This is why none of us could fill out the application! we did not learn in Kreyol! this is good!” Everyone clapped and I ran over and gave him a big hug!
It was amazing to have the support of the the Haitian parents.

 Jimmy Val, the dad who stood up in support of learning in Kreyòl.

Jimmy Val, the dad who stood up in support of learning in Kreyòl.

Jimmy Val and Debbie


Helping Haitian Angels
Founder and Executive Director

Farewells and a Party – from Anisha in LaGonave

Farewells and a Party

Ready and waiting for dinner to be served

Ready and waiting for dinner to be served

On my last night in La Gonave, the family organized a farewell party to send me off. After three weeks of living in such close quarters with this family, I am somewhat accustomed to seeing their resourcefulness in action. Still, the way they stretched their limited means and hosted such a festive party managed to take me aback!

Zaza prepared a simple but typical Haitian variation on beans and rice, in a large enough quantity to feed all the hungry mouths in the extended family. There were jugs of moonshine rum punch – strong local moonshine mixed with dashes of fresh passion fruit and orange juices. The boys borrowed a well-worn set of speakers and hooked them up to a small solar panel. Before dinner was served, everyone danced outside to traditional Haitian “kompa” music. There was even more dancing once the moon was up and we had all been fed. If my time on La Gonave has taught me anything, it’s that Haitians love to dance and are not shy about it.

Posing for the camera with Charbine, one of my loveliest kreyol “professors”

Posing for the camera with Charbine, one of my loveliest kreyol “professors”

Dimida and Luvla (both 11 years old) ready for the party

Dimida and Luvla (both 11 years old) ready for the party

Zaza’s simple dinner spread, prepared during many hours over an open fire

Zaza’s simple dinner spread, prepared during many hours over an open fire

Too early the next morning, it was time to strap my bags to the back of a motorcycle and begin the long, bumpy ride down to the port and back to the mainland. I am writing now from the bustling, frenzied, dusty mayhem of Port-au-Prince, where the peaceful living on La Gonave seems like another Haiti altogether.

March 2015 Update

March 2015

Dear friends of Matènwa,

Untitled.jpgJust as our students are always thrilled to add new plants into the school garden, we always take great pleasure in updating you on these activities each month.

One of the first steps to march2growing new vegetables is for students to prepare the seedlings. They recycle discarded materials and equipment such as old wheelbarrows to use as planters. With the assistance of the garden technicians, they planted tomato, cabbage, bean, and beet seedlings. Afterwards, they created beds to transplant the seedlings. Each of these students will be responsible for caring for a seedling and monitoring its growth. They will draw, write about, and reflect on the entire process.

Training World Vision Teachers
march5Over the years, MCLC has developed a good relationship with the PACODES schools, a group of schools supported by World Vision’s Area Development Program in Lagonav. Every year, World Vision sends a new cohort of teachers and school directors to MCLC for a week-long training. The latest group was recently trained on classroom management, class preparation, school gardening, and the use of Creole as the language of instruction. We were especially happy that march3World Vision wanted us to emphasize this last component. Their priority was for all teachers to teach first through third graders in their mother tongue, in all subjects, and expose students to French oral communication, as recommended by the Ministry of Education.

As usual, we started the training reading a chapter of Yves Dejean’s book Yon lekòl tèt anba nan yon peyi tèt anba (in English, An Upside Down School in an Upside Down Country). This book always generates great discussions and reflections. It highlights the challenges that students face when being taught in a second language that they are not fluent in.

march4Training Follow-Up at Other Partner Schools
To ensure that the partner schools in our network are applying the principles learned at the trainings effectively, a MCLC specialist visits each school at least twice a month. In addition, a group of 70 teachers and directors, representatives from each school, meet at MCLC once a month for additional training and to discuss strategies on how to address difficulties they are encountering in their classrooms. At the last meeting, some teachers felt that they needed more instruction on the process of how to create mother tongue books with their students. Others wanted to learn more about how to display their students’ work. Together, we came up with some strategies to resolve these issues. We are making great progress!

Chris W. Low, Executive Director FOM
Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC

Ayiti, ann avan!

This is a video album of the visit at MIT on April 17, 2013, of Haiti’s former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and his delegation for the signing of an agreement between the MIT-Haiti Initiative ( and Haiti’s Ministry of National Education and Professional Development (MENFP).

Several pictures of our students in Matènwa are featured in this video! Laurent Lamothe has spoken highly about the advances in education being modeled in Matènwa.

International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day
Innovator Spotlight Webinar – February 19, 2015
Watch Now
Whiz Kids Workshop presents about using media to promote and improve early grade reading in Ethiopia. Tsehai Loves Learning TV and radio program is broadcast nationally each week. The show is adapted to different mother tongue children books and reaches children in classrooms. You’ll also hear about grantee Friends of Matènwa‘s impressive early grade literacy project in Haiti that used the Mother Tongue Books methodology to help children create books they want to read.