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Chris Low and Abner Sauveur


Our Story


Our story begins in the spring of 1995, on a bright sunny morning, at a bustling outdoor bus station, near Site Solèy. Their paths intersected for the first time, Abner coming off the bus that Chris was getting on. A mutual friend introduced them,  neither of them knew they would be on a long journey together, spending the next twenty five plus years of their lives building a model school that would change Haitian education forever.


Chris and Abner first worked together in AAPLAG’s Adult Literacy Program, he as the coordinator, she as the staff developer, and Beyond Borders as the funder. As they talked and walked for miles each day to visit literacy centers across the Lagonav mountains, Chris began to help Abner shape a vision and a strategy for a model school. In the summer of 1996 they bought a piece of land and founded the Matènwa Community Learning Center (MCLC) called Lekòl Kominotè Matènwa (LKM) in Creole. 

In 2010, the co-directors changed their roles in order to begin their dream to expand the Matènwa educational model across Lagonav Island and eventually throughout Haiti. Chris established a US non-profit Friends of Matènwa Inc. to expand funding opportunities and became its executive director. Abner established the LKM Direction Committee and began a pilot to train 10 other schools on Lagonav with support from the Boston Foundation.

Once MIT linguist Michel Degraff's research showed MCLC's  superior literacy scores , Chris and Abner established the Institute of Learning in 2015. Thousands of educators from well over 100 schools have come to the Institute to observe and learn MCLC's methodologies for literacy, hands on math, school and family gardens, children's social and emotional health, Children's Rights, and community involvement  are being sought out by educators from communities across the country. 

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