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Monthly Updates

Monthly Updates from Chris and Abner

August 2014 Update

Dear friends of Matènwa,

Summer camp was filled with fun and learning. The students, teachers, and visitors all had an enriching experience working and playing together.

NM8-1bSince 2012, summer camp has been a popular NM8-2bprogram at the school. This year, we had over 250 participants, split into different workshops suh as arts and crafts, dance, knitting, music, and yoga. Our visitors also had time to interact with their host families. For example, some learned how to make peanut butter and grill, caramelize, and ground coffee beans with the local women.

Several trainings took place during camp. A team from A Connected Planet taught the students and teachers how to use tablets as educational tools. Our goal is to integrate this technology into our Mother Tongue Books program at all grade levels.
Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 3.46.07 PMTen teachers in our school network participated in a three-day training for Greater Sustainability in Agriculture to help reinforce their capacity in school gardening. This training covered several important topics, including how to make infertile land fertile again. Participants also learned more about the nutrition in different plants and other strategies for integrating the garden into their academic curriculum.

Christian Haitian Entrepreneurship Society, a non-profit Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 3.46.27 PMorganization based in MA, facilitated a three-day business training for Pouse Kreyòl (in English: Pushing Creole Products). Pouse Kreyòl is a group of women artists in Matènwa who are starting their own business: making, promoting, and selling their hand-painted scarves. Their vision is to build a successful business that will enable them to take care of their families and train other women in need. During the training, they learned and practiced, through role-play, more effective strategies for promoting their products and approaching potential customers.

NM8-5Our Open Space meeting brought together teachers and directors from several partner schools. Participants divided themselves into several small discussion groups on various community issues. The topics for discussion ranged from “How do we reduce teenage pregnancy?” to “How do we help the people of Lagonav advance given the many development challenges they face?” All groups engaged in passionate discussions and saw a need to bring even more people from the community into the dialogue to properly address these issues.  We look forward to having these semi-annual Open Spaces.

Museum of Science Kits

For a second summer we have piloted a MOS engineering kit. Last year we piloted one on Earthquakes and this year we piloted the Sky’s the Limit curriculum. In this unit, students learned about different models of flying technologies that help organizations such as NASA take aerial photographs.  They had a lot of fun designing their own models and testing how they interact with moving air outside and in a special wind tunnel. We thank Owen Berliner for giving us this opportunity.

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Chris Low, Executive Director FOM
Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC

June 2014 Update

Dear friends of Matènwa,

Happy Flag Day! As MCLC integrates new ideas, innovations, and visitors, we also continue to celebrate Haiti’s rich history and cultural traditions. More than 400 students, teachers, parents, and friends convened at MCLC on May 18 to celebrate Haitian Flag Day. It began with a parade where we marched down the street playing instruments and singing songs about the flag. 

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Then MCLC students and teachers performed a great program packed with songs, plays, poems, games, and stories about our national heroes. Participants spoke about the importance of the flag as a visible national symbol. They happily shared their knowledge about the historical events leading to its creation, modifications, and present design. We wish you could have been here to join in the fun!

Hands-On Math in the Garden

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Each fifth grader is responsible for their own tomato plant. The plants are now all bearing fruit. The students were recently asked to calculate: “If 4 tomatoes cost 10 Haitian gouds, how much money is your plant worth today?” They each counted the number of tomatoes on their plants, then divided by four, and multiplied it by the selling price. They reported that each plant yielded between 30 to 60 tomatoes. So they were worth between 75 to 150 gouds each ($1.75 to $3.50 US)

Observational Teacher Training

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We are excited to report that more and more organizations are bringing teachers from Haitian schools to us for a week of teacher training.

In this picture educators from the city of Jacmel, Haiti are watching the class calculate a math problem using the beet bed. They were impressed with how the garden was integrated into the curriculum.

These educators noted that the key elements that they felt made our model successful were: 1) We teach students in their mother tongue; 2) We treat them with respect; and 3) We provide them a hot breakfast every morning. They also were impressed by how happy the students were to share their experiences with them and also welcomed dialoguing with visitors.We thank you again for your contributions to this work to liberate and empower those who have been bound by oppressive educational systems.

Chris Low, Executive Director FOM
Ezner Angervil, Director MCLC

May 2014 Update

May 2014 Update

March 2014 Update

March 2014 Update

February 2014 Update

February 2014 Update

Visitors Unite to Launch a Matènwa High School! _ _ _ _ _ _ The Other Side Campaign: Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo

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.

Sincerely,

Chris