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Anisha In Haiti

A Lovely Visit

“Matènwa is not only a must-see because of its revolutionary approach to education in Haiti, but also because of how they welcome visitors. The opportunity they offer to do a homestay is very unique in Haiti, and it’s a fantastic way to connect with locals. The students are accustomed to outsiders coming in to observe, so you get a better picture of what’s actually going on at the school.”- Sora Edwards-Thro
















February 2015 Update

Dear friends of Matènwa,

image1We have some exciting new developments to share with you in this latest update.

MCLC has recently created an advisory committee in Haiti to advise the school on how to best tap into resources in-country. The committee members come from different walks of life and bring a unique set of skills and knowledge with them. (Left to right) Ernso Jean-Louis is a pastor and has a business helping small businesses grow, as well as running his Eucalyptus Guest House in Port-au-Prince. Freda Catheus has collaborated with MCLC since its inception and has extensive experience working in the field in adult literacy, women and child’s rights, and micro financing. Michaelle Auguste has worked for Teacher’s College, Hunter College and the New York Board of Education in Bilingual Education. She has written child and adult literacy programs for the Haitian Ministry of Education that MCLC staff use. Steven Werlin was Dean of Shimer College in Chicago and presently works at Fonkoze, a microcredit agency, while on leave in Haiti. He has done extensive work with MCLC on how to use Reflection Circles with students and teachers and the wider community. Caroline Hudicourt runs the Acacia school in Petion-Ville, and is the executive secretary of COSPE, a consortium of private schools in Haiti. Abner Sauveur and Chris Low are the co-founders of MCLC. Louis-Henry Mars runs a non-profit and works in conflict resolution.image2image3

Meeting our students’ needs
With the addition of a 10th grade class, we needed more space to accommodate the secondary students. Therefore, we have enlarged two classrooms below the library. We also added a porch for a Pre-K and First grade breakout space. We think these three first graders look pretty happy out there. Do you agree?image5image4

Cultivating and sharing our talents
At MCLC, we nurture the extra curricular interests and talents of our students. Some are really into sports and others into music or art. We provide students the opportunity to develop their skills. In music class, the kindergarteners love to sing and dance; the first and second graders love to play the conga; many of the olderimage6 image7students choose to play the guitar, drums, or keyboard. They all enjoy sharing what they have learned during school assemblies every Thursday. The preschoolers recently performed a dance routine at one of these assemblies and the 6th graders did a play on the importance of respecting other people’s belongings.

Using the gardens to teach and train
We work regularly in the school garden to ensure that there are enough vegetables throughout the year. Right now, we have cabbages and different types of peppers. Having a successful garden is important to us in at least three ways: 1) We always have some type of vegetables to serve the students in the school breakfast program; 2) Students can continue to do hands-on learning in the garden; and 3) We can demonstrate to the teachers who come from other schools for training how to create, maintain, and integrate a garden into their curriculum.



Spreading Across Haiti
Two groups of educators came to be trained this month for one week. Five people from the Central Plateau and Five people from Jacmel. We heard that the Director from Jacmel (center) reported to his sfunders from Community Coaltition of Haiti saying, “We are going to be the Matènwa of Jacmel!”image8

Learn Creole in Matènwa

Coming from New York City, Anisha just spent 3 weeks in Matènwa learning Creole before starting a new job in Port Au Prince. We will be posting her reflections soon!image12

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

Opening Ceremony of the new Creole Academy in Haiti!

IMG_4227On December 4, 2014, we were proud to have Abner Sauveur,co founder and Educational director of Matenwa Community Learning Center (MCLC),participate in the opening ceremony of Haiti’s Creole Academy.Sauveur was invited by Michelle DeGraff, a Haitian born MIT linguist who has been pushing for the realization of a Creole Academy in Haiti.The MCLC is the concrete model of what is possible to achieve in countryside schools when they use their mother tongue, as the language of instruction. This Academy should bring more respect to the language. Michel DeGraff has been leading the data collection and evaluation of literacy rates in 5 pilot schools that are using MCLC’s Mother Tongue Books methodology. The results after 18 months of implementation are very encouraging. Linguist Yves DeJean has been pushing for Creole to be used as the language of educational instruction for decades.

At the same time, Matenwa’s work towards this cause was recognized on National Public Ratio. Click on the link below to listen to the podcast. I hope you will be inspired to be a contributor and join Friends of Matènwa to keep this vital program moving ahead in Haiti. It is an essential institute of learning for other school teachers across Haiti.

Mother Tongue Books have arrived!

Chris W. Low, Executive Director FOM

Chris W. Low, Executive Director FOM

Fifty Mother Tongue Books just published! Available for sale through

Happy New Year 2015

Dear friends of Matènwa,

Happy New Year 2015! The MCLC staff, parents, and students wish you a healthy, prosperous, and successful year.

image1Thanks to your support, the education of Haitian children has taken a new direction not only on Lagonav but in other parts of the country as well through MCLC. We see many positive changes in the schools that we have trained: the elimination of physical discipline and verbal abuse, the use of Creole as a language of instruction, time for silent reading and the valorization of agriculture through school gardens.

Celebrating Our Community

Once again our end-of-the year celebration was a great success. Parents, students, and staff gathered together to celebrate our image2community’s growth and accomplishments during the past year. Another important element of this celebration is recognizing the teachers for their great work. This year, the school acknowledged three teachers, Samila Edmond, Delson Engerville, and Viola Josue, for their high performance in the following categories: student learning, classroom management, and teacher attendance (never late or absent).

Fostering Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills

image3Seventh through tenth grade students meet twice a week for the Reflection Circle program. During these meetings, students break into small groups to discuss a selected text, that usually has a moral dilemma. Then they come together in one large group to further share their questions and insights. Students really enjoy this program because the discussions challenge them to come up with questions for each other rather than the teacher questioning them. Since the questions are from the students, the students are invested in these peer discussions. Giving personal opinions and examples from their own lives, the students come to have a deeper understanding of themselves and each other. They learn to take their education into their own hands.

Thriving in the Garden

The school is proud to see its high schoolers still very image4interested in the garden and really valuing it. All year long students brought in natural fertilizers to help keep their garden of cabbages, peppers, tomatoes, and carrots thriving. The 10th graders took part in removing insects from the tomato beds. The 9th and 10th graders love writing time in the garden. When they go back into the classroom, they share their observations and reflections with each other and edit their work with the assistance of their teachers. All in all, students had a great 2014 and anticipate a 2015 filled with new learning adventures.

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