Linking Education, Advocacy and Community Action
"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." Lilla Watson
Each year Lisa Brown, teacher at Nauset Regional High School, travels with 3 to 5 students on an educational immersion trip to a small village called Matènwa off the coast of Haiti on an island called La Gonave. American students are invited into the homes of local artists, volunteer in the community, and learn about Haitian history.
In 2017 Lisa Brown and students worked very hard to set up the groundwork to connect Nauset Regional High School with a school group called The Matènwa Youth Association for Development, or AJMPD for short in Haiti.
AJMPD's mission is to stress the importance of education, through working with teenagers and young adults that are students at the Matènwa Community Learning Center (LKM). AJMPD also wishes to raise funds in order to help make the burden of educational expenses less of a hardship for families of students. With the help of Nauset and our surrounding communities, we hope to help as well. As well, they are working to build more community spaces to help inspire new leadership and developmental goals.
Team photo of AJMPD and Community Leaders
The Matènwa Community Learning Center (LKM)
Our Mission: Friends of Matènwa supports programs that offer the Matènwa community, and by extension, other communities of Haiti, opportunities to achieve their expressed goals regarding education, social justice, community and cultural development, health and welfare goals and priorities.
Our Approach: Friends of Matènwa believes in the power of communities of people to come together to express their needs and priorities and to set a course for the betterment of their own lives. We believe that our role is to listen carefully and, where possible, to provide technical and financial help.
The Matènwa Story: The Matènwa Community Learning Center’s story begins in 1996. It is based first in the hopes and dreams of its founders and continues with the empowerment of its community.
Documentary about how The Matènwa Community Learning Center Began.
Above is a view of LKM and their sustainable, student run gardens and chicken coops.
Above is a class of 2nd graders taking part in experiential learning through no traditional desks as a way to promote active listening and respect for both student and teacher.
Above is a video about how The Matènwa Community Learning Center hopes to achieve their goals.
Nauset Human Rights Academy
The Academy exists to educate our Nauset community about human rights issues in an effort to promote a society based on empathy and social justice.
update on latest actions:
All of the projects, collaboration efforts and immersion experiences for high school students come out of the Nauset Regional High School Human Rights Academy (NHRA. Each year NHRA strives to raise awareness, advocacy and funds to be able to support collaboration efforts in Haiti. if you would like to see a brief history of NHRA check out the Human Rights tab above.
The Barnstable Human Rights Commission
The Barnstable Human Rights Commission is made up of extremely dedicated volunteers who work tirlessly to sponsor human rights events and youth advocacy events on Cape Cod
To learn more about The
Barnstable Human Rights
Commission click the logo
above to be redirected to
Support Our Art Collective Of Women:
Founded over twenty years ago, a group of women in the village of Matènwa approached Ellen Lebow to see if she would help them start an art collective to help them culturally express themselves as well as help them break the oppressive bonds of a male dominated society. And the result has been influential. The women have taken greater roles as leaders in the community and they get to provide for their families in doing that which they love.
Since the United States has greater access to raw materials like, beads, cloth and sequence, art advocates working on the behest of the women artists will bring the materials to Matènwa, Haiti where the women will buy what they need for their craft. Then, when they complete a piece of artwork, the art advocates help to bring the materials to art galleries in Haiti and art shows in the United States. The women have been able to go to the boutiques around Haiti to show off their work and continue the sustainable practices of advocating for themselves. We feel so humbled to be able to join them as they fight for what they believe in and share their art with the world.
Below are some examples from the ArtMatènwa website and if you would like to purchase an item please feel free to use their website to do so. In supporting these women you are not only helping one woman feel empowered that her artwork is stellar but helping to create monumental change in the community. If you would like to know more check out the ArtMatènwa tab above or check out their website by clicking on the images below.