Building a Model Community School

Let me tell you some news about a couple of schools in Madagascar and Haiti.

First I’d like to share a video of a teacher with his students in Madagascar. This school appears to be in paradise with an amazing teacher who brings out the smiles of the children. I wish he had been my teacher! Don’t worry if you don’t understand all the words.

Second, I’d like to tell you about a group of talented men who are off on a venture in Haiti where their efforts just may create similar smiles for students in Croix des Bouquets. And so here is the cast of characters:
Sam: This man’s father started the school which is a place that hopes to be self sustaining. That means they have fields where they grow food, with parents and students working together. Sam is in the process of hiring new staff and finding funding for buildings for classrooms and more.
Tony: Tony will be in charge of learning content and the school’s central computer server. Teacher training and community involvement are a part of this.
George will lead the tech support.
Nick will deal with map making, project learning and telling the school’s story.
Christoph will work from afar (Paris and Vienna).
Adam will work as the “community catalyst”.

Third, click on the following link and take a look at this successful mapping effort in Kenya!
The men involved in the Haiti school project (above) hope to build on this effort in Kenya. Haiti’s town of Croix-des-Bouquets is in fact in a red zone for highest need of mapping — click here to see the map.
Several of the team have a great deal of mapping experience. Some are attending
the 5th Annual International OpenStreetMap Conference in Denver, Colorado, September 9th – 11th, 2011.

Fourth: This week in Paris, Christoph will encourage members of the Sugar Camp #2 ( to work on content related efforts. These may be useful for the Haiti school project:

(1) They will look at the French materials from Nosy Komba to see whether they might be useful for Haiti.

(2) Another nice effort may be to have a small workshop focused on
teaching people how to make content bundles. This should enable
people to support the Haiti efforts from a distance by bundling up
relevant articles, photos, music, etc.

(3) They may also create a 1-2 page information
sheet to be distributed to teachers and/or parents. French would be a
useful start here, English and Creole excellent additions.

So, much has been going on in preparing material for the Croix-des-Bouquets school.
Forty laptops were refurbished by Adam this past weekend and are prepared for the journey.
Sam is reviewing the CVs of three teaching candidates. The expansion of a classroom building has begun. He says, “So far we have the hole dug and some of the metal beams needed, but of course so much more needs to be done. I am currently trying to raise funds to build these semi-permanent structures needed for the school, the English program, and for Adult Literacy.”

As of this week, the team has collected the following:
* 30 school bags
* Some washing soap (Zest)
* 2 soccer balls and needles for inflating
* 2 Frisbees
* 12 skip ropes
* 1 stapler and staples
* erasers and small pencil sharpeners, stickers, rulers, scotch tape, ‘duck’ tape
* sets of dice
* file folders
* wall mountable pencil sharpener, pens and pencils, colored pencils and 4 coloring books about Haiti
* USB memory sticks
* Wireless Access Points
* printer/scanner
* Knitting and crochet supplies

I hope to be able to report on project success in the months to follow. September and October are when it all begins. Photos may be a plus. A team setting up a model community school where students and their parents help grow their own food, make use of bicycles to map their area, learn to use the internet, and begin learning beyond the rote methods common in the country – this would be amazing!


About fromourisland

Gardener, knitter, wife, mother of 2, grandmother, and lots more.
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