Schools in Haiti – Inspiration, Community, and Determination!
By Patricia Cogley – Girls’ Voices Director
Last week, we had the wonderful opportunity to visit two schools that the GreaterGood community (that’s YOU!) supports in Haiti – Institute Edeline and the Matenwa School. Both are a beacon of hope, resilience and community – thoughtfully educating a generation of children who face multiple obstacles to completing school. Girls from both schools have been active participants in our Girls’ Voices initiative and our scholarship program. Our trip was designed to strengthen our girls’ programs, to improve our nutrition and egg-laying hen programs and to celebrate the completion of secondary grades.
Project Edeline, an elementary school built after the earthquake, is a thriving learning community bursting with youthful energy. A chorus of young singers and dancers greeted us and spent two days creating, learning and playing together. We held Girls’ Voices workshops with the girls who created videos last year. Together they earnestly engaged in discussions about their education goals and challenges. Each of the girls made a “resource map” of their support and some of their personal qualities that help them to stay motivated in school. The girls took photographs of themselves and their surroundings, and each created an inspirational quote for motivating others.
We watched the Girls’ Voices videos from last year, and everyone was mesmerized by their work! Girls shared that they felt proud to see what they had accomplished a year before. We finished the two days with hugs, lots of creative photographs and a desire to stay in touch.
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The Matenwa School
The Matenwa school calls the island of La Gonave home. The GreaterGood community, including YOU, have had a devoted history supporting this unique school tucked away on a remote and rural island. Matenwa is one of only a few schools in Haiti that teaches primarily in Creole, the mother tongue. Children learn in open classrooms with views of the sea and island. In addition to reading, writing, math and science, the children learn music, organic farming, crafts and beat making!
From the Matenwa recording studio, we showed the entire school the Girls’ Voices videos from last year. The Girls’ Voices participants proudly shared what they had learned, and each participant taught two new girls some of their photography skills. Everyone took creative photos and shared their educational goals for the year.
Over the years, the GreaterGood community has supported the buildout of Matenwa’s secondary school. We had the special opportunity to talk to each of the members of the graduating class, to learn what their hopes were for their future. They discussed how proud they felt to be a part of this distinguished group of students, and their desire to go to university to pursue professional careers.
It is an honor to partner with such outstanding schools in Haiti, and with your contribution, we are committed to supporting the next generation of learners. In a country where the average student may not attend school after the age of seven, we know that these schools can change the course of destiny for so many talented and determined students.
To support the tremendous work of Matenwa, to make a difference TODAY, please donate here.