Don't Just Make Art, Be Art

Reading, Writing, and Raising Chickens

last year we began our adult literacy class at Living Media as a way to provide adults in the area with the basic education that they may never have had the chance to get as children.  These people have been speaking Creole their entire lives but have never been able to read or write it.  Many of them also depend on small business in the local market to make a little money to support their families but they have never learned the basics of math.  We launched the class with almost 50 students ranging in age from 18-76.

Our first group of students.

The first term of the classes went very well and at the end we were so proud of our students and the progress that they had made that we decided to throw them a party to encourage them and celebrate all they had done.  At the party we party we had music and dancing and skits and we served a meal.  We also bought each of the students a gift.  The women all received new curtains and the men got dress shirts.  Everyone had a good time and went home with a new enthusiasm towards learning.  Shortly after, we opened a new session of classes and doubled our number of students.  We opened a new class and hired an additional instructor to accommodate the increased numbers.

As we continued with the class throughout the year and began approaching the holiday season this past December, we started talking about another party for them.  this time, as we started making plans, some of the students came to us with an idea.  “Instead of buying gifts for us all,” they told us, “why don’t we use that money towards some sort of community project that will have an impact beyond just us?  Then the community will be able to see that it was Living Media literacy students that did it.”  Of course we loved the idea.  It’s exactly the kind of creative thinking towards community development that we encourage through all of our programs.  And this time it came

Some of the Literacy students putting on a skit about Haiti at this year's Christmas party

directly from the students.

After much planning and going over different options for projects we have decided to pursue a chicken raising project.  The plan is to provide each student with two chickens to raise with the stipulation that the first chick and occasional eggs afterwords will be given back to be be passed on to another person in the community.  Priority for those receiving new chicks will be given to new literacy students in the program.  Plans are also being made to install a permanant chicken coop for Living Media in which a certain number of chicks will be kept and raised by the students in order to create a business that can generate money to support Living media’s other programs.  Our Poverty Intervention Team will be involved int he distribution of future chickens and our Dreamers will be involved in the training of recipients.

We did still throw a small Christmas party for the students a few weeks ago in which we announced that we would be doing the project and all the students were thrilled to hear the news and are now eager for the project to begin.  Now we just have to raise the money to make it happen because a chicken project is a little more spendy than curtains and shirts.  We are expecting to need $2200 to start the project for 100 students, with the confidence that it will be able to pay for itself and more from there.  If you would like to contribute to this project please donate our “Donate” tab and specify in the message what you are giving for.  Thanks for helping us encourage these passionate students to take the initiative to bringing change to their community through some chickens!

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2 responses

  1. Judy Haselhoef

    This is a fabulous example of Haitians helping Haitians help themselves. Am so impressed by what the Haitian community is doing and the example you are setting! Se yonn travail bon!

    February 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm

  2. I had the great pleasure of visiting the Adult Literacy class last spring. It was truly inspiring. They have such a desire to learn and are so proud of their achievements. I am not surprised that they want to give back to their community in this way. They are an amazing group of people.

    February 15, 2012 at 2:25 am

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