Gas Prices Rising, Time for Solar

HaitiLibre

 

On May 15th, the subsidies that keep gas prices lower will be stopped. This is in response to a request from the World Bank. The Haiti government will also raise prices on electricity. All of these changes are meant to decrease the deficit of Haitian national budget. There are so many issues in this development that we would have to refer to a scholar that studies the subject. On the ground, in the cities, neighborhoods and rural towns, this affects everyone’s life and ability to achieve success.

As we said in our previous post, consistency of electrical infrastructure is poor. We receive only 8 hours of energy every other day. That means we either have inverters and batteries, run a generator or go without electricity. Many businesses, personal homes and organizations rely on a generator for their daily lives. In the past when our invertor system has broken down, JE used our stinky and loud generator everyday. It costs us $15 dollars to run our generator for two days, at 6 hours per day. That means we have paid, $45 every week to power our organization and run classes. We pay our faculty $50 a month per class. So we could use that money to pay four faculty instead of buying gas. $45 may not sound like much but this is not America and the average daily wage is $2.50. Even the growing middle class will suffer.

Help us create sustainable infrastructure in Jacmel. We can’t take care of all of Haiti or even all of Jacmel but we can make a big difference for a lot of people in Jacmel. Cause when gas prices go up, most all prices go up!

A School That Tries So Hard With So Little

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Last September we visited a school in partnership with SevMoFlo, a non-profit in Miami. We provided logistics support to deliver school supplies to the students of Ecole St. Thomas Episcopale D’Haiti in a zone called Kafou Pengwen. When we arrived we found that we had many connections and friends in common. Our former screen printing student is giving art classes there, one professor was a part of a local partner organization and had already heard about our work in town regarding elevating technology. We found in ourselves an enduring resolve to continue to support this school.

Now we hope that we can help Ecole St. Thomas again! If we pass our fundraising goals to ship solar panels to Haiti we want to donate solar panels to this school. It’s not just about the solar panels. Let me explain how special this school is and what reality they have to deal with just to provide an education.

Ecole St. Thomas was built by the local community, because there was no place for the kids to go. They raised the money to build the school, they found teachers to teach the classes but that is all. They only have two rooms for near 300 students. Half those students come in the morning and half come in the afternoon. It is overwhelming. They have no electrical infrastructure at all. They teach by the daylight. This school is in a remote location in the mountains and is solely supported by a poor community that wants a better future for their kids.

The solar project only provides solar panels. We are importing $50,000 in panels! But each organization or business in the program has to find the funds to buy the batteries, inverter and electrical wires. Ecole St. Thomas does not have the support network to raise these funds. If we can pass our goal, Jakmel Ekspresyon wants to continue to support this remote school and buy the additional system they will need for the solar panels.

Help us by sharing our story. Let your friends know that together we can create a more sustainable future for some bright young Haitians that deserve the chance.

Click on the Donate link above to give a donation.

 

That Class was Electric!

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After five weeks of coding theory and practice the youth in Robo Klub got to have some real fun last Saturday! Lionel Pierre, the HTML teacher, brought in some electronic sound equipment. So the morning was filled with laughter and music. It was a magical space to be in. In the afternoon we learned about electricity and the fundamentals of a circuit. Then we soldered together a simple circuit with a watch battery, 330 Ohm resistor, led light and a vibration motor.

It took a minute for everyone to understand that the negative does not come out of the other side of your on/off toggle switch. And it was great to see everyone’s face as soon as they had a working circuit. I could hear the face before I saw it, because it was always proceeded by a very enthusiastic, “SUE SUE SUE!”

Saturday is one of my favorite days at JE! -Sue Frame, Director

Science in the Arts?!

Robo Klub Flyer

Science and art have too long been separated. Even the word scientist was inspired by the word artist. Many countries with greater resources than Haiti have realised this and Universities are now partnering the two subjects. In 2015 over 25 University presidents penned letters to Obama stating the importance of combining science and the arts. It just makes sense. Both are creative fields with innovators looking at new ways of thinking and making. With the advent of the 3D printer and realised machines, artists have a direct connection to creating with digital technology. Now it is important to find the relevancy of these mediums and what they have to offer the world of art. Art is also a great way for students to explore and understand new technologies.

So why should JE’s students deserve any less than what first world students are getting? JE is has most of the resources to create this opportunity and with a little help from our new partners, HTEC, we have distributed applications at six local schools. The Robo Klub is the most competitive program we have offered. Out of 150 applications distributed we will choose only 12 students to participate in the program! The Klub will start October 7th and continue for three months. The students will be learning English, computer competency, coding with Scratch and principles of movement. In January the students will go to Port au Prince for a national competition and conference!

This is just the beginning! We have a lot more arts/tech classes in development. If you would like to support the students and teachers click the donation button above.

What’s the Difference between a Community Center and an Arts Academy?

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For the past 7 years, Jakmel Ekspresyon has been a Community Arts Center. It has been a space for artists to glean new skills or practice old ones through classes. It has provided resources for graduates so they can create their own job. The building and equipment has been used by many local organizations to hold classes, have meetings, and or create activities for the larger community of Jacmel. As the Center has grown our network of local volunteers has grown, so has our list of classes. The artists are gaining more skills based experience. The community of students, faculty and administration are driven forward-thinking intellectuals and each of them is always seeking more knowledge.


Our classes have traditionally included skills, techniques and professional development. What the Center lacks is critical thinking classes and practices. A community center provides resources for a community and its activities. A school teaches students how to approach critical thinking and has a curriculum to achieve that pathway. The academic classes that the community is asking for will make Jakmel Ekspresyon a local arts academy. Jakmel Ekspresyon is advancing two initiatives to meet our new goal. First, we are currently seeking volunteers to expand the options for art history, philosophy and critical theory. Second, over the next year we will be developing themes for the classes to tackle issues such as health, discrimination and environmental justice. Some of these classes will include STEM/STEAM education practices such as learning code programming or testing for water pollution.

 

It is now our intention to develop this humble little art center into an arts academy to educate young artists and help to nurture and inspire the new generation of artists in Jacmel, Haiti. You can be involved in the next step of our journey! Start a conversation with us, introduce us to people we should know and we always take in-kind and fiscal donations. Email us at jakmelekspresyon@gmail.com or visit our donate page to see our wish list.

An Evening with Tonerrr and JE

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Tonerrr theater group and the students of Jakmel Ekspresyon have created a multi media performance, Antigòn. This play/performance will include live performative painting and theater together. It focuses on the history and culture of Haiti. So many of the students from design to sewing to painting and drawing have worked with Tonerrr to make this show happen. Tonerrr is the resident theater group at Jakmel Ekspresyon. Last year a couple of our students joined a workshop led by Bread and Puppet artists and the interdisciplinary nature of Antigòn is influenced by that workshop.

New Library!

With the help and donations from the McGarrell family and friends we have built our first library. This has been a dream for the art center for years. The donations helped us build beautiful cabinets and ship in an arts library. This is HUGE! Before the library the faculty had to describe the different genres of painting, drawing, sculpture and photography. Maybe they would make a quick sketch to visually describe Expressionism to students. But how do you make a thumb nail sketch to describe a master piece. The lack of a library was a deficit to the learning process of our students. Now we have a small library and room to grow! Most of our visual library is in English. Our next step is to solicit donations of french language books. We need critical theory, arts history, philosophy and poetry. While our library grows we also have plans to create a small reading room where the students can sit and enjoy the knowledge. We dedicate this library to the late Ann McGarrell and her continued influence in our efforts through the library.

Jakmel Ekspresyon Screen Printing

Jakmel Ekspresyon has been a vibrant place for screen printing in the Jacmel area. Here are some examples of recent projects at JE. The photos below show our members cutting stencils and the finished product from a recent job.

Shirts 1

shirts and fabric 2

Shirts and fabric

Design

Happy Holidays!

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Happy Holidays from all of us at Jakmel Ekspresyon

It has been a year full of achievement. There are more students than ever learning to be creative social innovators. We have over 100 students now! Out of the many successes we want to share two great achievements this year and it is all about the students. When the Center took a break from classes for a month, the students were asked to come together and have a discussion about what practice means to their work, their studies and their life. As a result the students decided to create a committee to organize student clubs. This committee was elected by the students and they decided that each committee member would serve for a year. Since, they have organized outings, events and weekly meetings for a drawing club. This student involvement has an active impact on how the students think of the Center. We have always encouraged these young adults to take ownership in their community and this committee has truly empowered them to take action. We couldn’t be prouder of them and their leadership.

The second awesome achievement is the student’s courage to promote the Center as a space of non-discrimination. They have pride in what we stand for. Most people in Haiti are timid of saying the word non-discrimination. The word is used to describe people who face violence and many don’t want to be associated with those people, for fear of that violence. Many times people have asked us if we have been the victim of aggression and violence because of our mission. We are amazed to say that we have never been threatened and in fact we have developed an extremely positive atmosphere. Visitors love the energy of the space and the students when they come to visit. We are blessed to have such a peaceful space when others are not as fortunate.

Now we have a unique opportunity to help you help us. A donor has offers to match up to $3,250 of total donations received in December and January. This equals half of our rent! We know equality is as important to you as it is to us. Your donation will support the students as they make a change in their local culture so that one day all Haitians may be viewed as equal despite their differences. Click here to make a tax deductible donation today.

Welcome to Our New Digital Home

Welcome to our new digital home jecenter.org. We have retooled our site to provide you with more comprehensive information about Jakmel Ekspresyon community art center. Please share the good word with all your friends and re-blog what you appreciate.

As you navigate the new site you will see more information on our guiding principles of art, health, and professional development. We are continually pushing forward to create the resources our members need to be successful creative social innovators in Jacmel and to nurture healthy open lifestyles. This “one-stop shop” approach does not fit the non-profit industry model. So we are always looking for new partners to help us develop the areas of health and professional development. If you believe in this new model, want to help us network or even discuss how this model is necessary to create change, than email us at jakmelekspresyon@gmail.com.

This new website has laid an awesome foundation that we will continue to improve. Over the next couple weeks we will be including more pictures of our members and their own thoughts on the Center. Stay tuned and visit frequently so you catch all of our updates.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our new blog!



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