Turkey’s Village Institutes

One of the goals I had for my recent trip to Turkey was to learn more about the Village Institutes (Köy Enstitüleri) there. I knew that they represented an innovative approach to expanding opportunities for learning, but that they had come to an abrupt end in the late 1940’s.

I’d read several articles about the Institutes (see below), and also knew that they had been influenced by John Dewey’s report on the Turkish educational system, but I wanted to hear firsthand from Turkish people who had been involved with the Institutes, or had studied them from a Turkish perspective.

The Village Institutes were created to meet a serious educational need. In 1928 (the year of the introduction of the Latin script in Turkey), 82.5 per cent of men and 95.2 per cent of women were illiterate. For 13.6 million people, there were only 4,894 elementary schools and most of those were in the towns, not the villages where most of the people lived (Vexliard & Aytac, 1964).

Between 1939 and 1946 twenty-one co-educational boarding schools were built to prepare primary school teachers. Much of the construction work was done by pupils and teachers. Youth of both sexes, aged twelve to sixteen, who had completed a five-year village primary school, qualified for admission. Their education was free following a pledge to teach in an assigned village for twenty years after graduation.

The duties of the new teachers included:

  • primary education
  • adult education in the villages
  • raising the cultural level of the villages through the distribution of books, educational programs, radio, and vocal, dance, & instrumental music education; the photo above (by George Pickow/Three Lions/Getty Images), shows Turkish teenagers in an Institute presenting a mass concert on the saz, the Turkish national instrument
  • promoting progressive agricultural techniques in the fields, the orchards, and kitchen gardens; the raising of  livestock; rural handicrafts such as ironwork, carpentry, leather work, mechanics, and electricity
  • instruction for adults in child-rearing, housekeeping, needlework
  • the creation and development of rural cooperatives

The graduates of the Institutes were to return to their villages as leaders and reformers. Teachers, students, and villagers in general were to learn practical skills, mostly related to their agricultural economy, new tools for life, and general education.

The Institute approach embodied ideas of Ataturk, Dewey, and others such as integrating theory and practice, focusing on the underserved, working across institutions, and a systemic approach to building a stronger society. Classical education was to be combined with practical abilities and applied to local needs.

The Institutes had a major impact, and many people regret that they were shut down. But there was resistance against this secular and mixed education. Some feared that it would educate ‘the communists of tomorrow,’ a damning statement during the Cold War. Traditionalists questioned the coeducational and secular aspects. Powerful landlords did not appreciate the goal of educating children who could ask “Why?” questions. There were also questions about the organization and preparation of the teachers. By 1953 the Village Institutes had been completely shut down.

I heard strong statements from people who knew about the Institutes and decried their closing. An artist we met, who had been born during the Institute period, said “They killed the Turkish children! They murdered Turkey’s future!”

Others were more reserved, but still felt that a crucial opportunity had been lost. There are estimates of major losses for Turkey in terms of general literacy and economic development still being felt today because of the closings.

From the little I know, it appears that the Village Institutes demonstrated a successful model for education that could be applied anywhere after suitable adjustment for local needs. I’d like to learn more, and have many questions.

For example, all the photos I’ve seen show only (or mostly) young men, even though the Institutes were coeducational. How did the young men and women get along? How did they each experience the Institutes? The graduates would now be in their 80’s. How do they think about that experience today? What did their training mean for the villages where they went to teach?

How do the Village Institutes compare to other grassroots, community-based education initiatives, such as the school at Weedpatch Camp in California, Foxfire, the Misiones Pedagogicas (village literacy program in Spain, which was shut down by Franco), Paulo Freirean projects in many countries, Paseo Boricua, the Reggio Emilia Approach, or the school set up by the schoolboys of Barbiana?

Perhaps most importantly, could or should the Institutes be revived? Or, are there principles we can derive from them that would be valuable for the more urban populations of today?

References

Ata, Bahri (2000). The influence of an American educator (John Dewey) on the Turkish educational system. Turkish Yearbook of International Relations (Milletlerarası Münasebetler Türk Yıllığı), 31. Ankara: Ankara Üniversitesi.

Bilgi, Sabiha, & Özsoy, Seckin (2005). John Dewey’s travelings into the project of Turkish modernity. In Thomas S. Popkewitz (ed.), Inventing the modern self and John Dewey: Modernities and the traveling of pragmatism in education (pp. 153-177). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dewey, John (1983). Report and recommendations upon Turkish education. In Jo Ann Boydston (ed.), The Middle Works: Essays on Politics and Society, 1923-1924. Vol. 15 of Collected Works. Carbondale: Southern Illinois Press.

Eğrikavuk, Işil (2010, April 9). Anniversary marks unfinished story of Turkish village schools. Hürriyet Daily News.

Stirling, Paul (1965, 1994). Turkish village. Canterbury, UK: Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing, University of Kent at Canterbury.

Stone, Frank A. (1974). Rural revitalization and the Village Institutes in Turkey: Sponsors and critics. Comparative Education Review, 18(3), 419–429.

Uygun, Selçuk (2008, November). The impact of John Dewey on the teacher education system in Turkey. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 36(4), 291–307.

Vexliard, Alexandre, & Aytac, Kemal (1964). The Village Institutes in Turkey. Comparative Education Review. 8(1), 41-47.

Wolf-Gazo, Ernest (1996). John Dewey in Turkey: An educational mission. Journal of American Studies of Turkey, 3, 15-42.

Yılmaz, Omer (1977). Schools for developing countries: The Turkish Village Institutes. Educational Planning, 3(4), 72–80.

Youth planners in Richmond, CA

I was fortunate to have a visit with youth planners at the Kennedy High School in Richmond, CA on Wednesday this week. These were students studying their own community and developing plans to improve it. They’ll be presenting these plans to the Mayor next month.

What I saw is part of Y-PLAN (Youth — Plan, Learn, Act, Now), a city planning program run by UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities & Schools. Deborah McKoy is the creator of Y-PLAN and the center’s founder and executive director.

Sarah Van Wart from the UC Berkeley I School was my guide. She and two undergrads, Arturo and Sarir had been leading the high school students in a community planning exercise. They first examined their current situation, using dialogue, photos, and data. They then considered alternatives and how those might apply to a planned urban development project.

The development will include schools, housing, a park, and community center, but the questions for city planners, include “How should these be designed?” “How can they be connected?” “How can they be made safe, useful, and aesthetically pleasing?”

On the day I visited, the youth had already developed general ideas on what they’d like to see in the development. Now they were to make these ideas more concrete through 3-D modeling. Using clay, toothpicks, construction paper, dried algae, stickers, variously colored small rocks, and other objects, they constructed scale models of the 30 square block development. One resource they had was contact sheets of photos of other urban environments. They could select from those to include as examples to emulate or to avoid.

I was impressed with the dedication and skill of the leaders of the project, including also the teacher, Mr. G. But the most striking thing was how engaged the young people were. I heard some healthy arguing about design, but I didn’t see the disaffection that is so common some high schools today.

My only regret is that I wasn’t able to follow the process from beginning to end. But from the rich, albeit limited, glimpse I had, the project is an excellent way to engage young people in their own communities, to use multimedia for learning and action in the world, and to learn how to work together on meaningful tasks. It’s a good example of community inquiry.

Sara Bernard has a more detailed article on the project on Edutopia, which includes an audio slide show:

Audio slide show: Putting Schools on the Map Slide Show
Putting Schools on the Map

References

Bernard, Sara (2008, October). Mapping their futures: Kids foster school-community connections.

Bierbaum, Ariel H., & McKoy, Deborah L. (2008, Spring). Y-PLAN: A tool for engaging youth and schools in planning for the future of their communities. IMPACT: A Multidisciplinary Journal Addressing the Issues of Urban Youth, 2(1).

McKoy, Deborah, & Vincent, J. 2007. Engaging schools in urban revitalization: The Y-PLAN (Youth-Plan, Learn, Act, Now). Journal of Planning Education and Research, 26, 389-403.

ReadWriteThink

Since 2002 ReadWriteThink has provided literacy educators with access to a large and growing collection of free educational materials. There are hundreds of lesson plans, calendar resources, printouts, and interactive tools.

The site has become one of the most used web resources for educators and students, and has just released a much-improved design. The content is now browsable by type, grade, learning objective, theme, and allotted time. Out-of-school resources for parents and afterschool providers have been consolidated into an easily accessible section.

ReadWriteThink is a partnership between the National Council of Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, and Verizon Thinkfinity. Bringing these organizations together has been an important contribution of the project in its own right.

Minds-on Math, Science, and Social Studies with standard school supplies

Jack Easley was an professor at the University of Illinois from 1962 until his retirement in 1989. His research on cognitive development in the learning of science and mathematics across various cultures influenced educators around the world. He co-founded the Dialogues in Methods of Education group, which continues to this day. He was also a much loved friend, who died December 10, 1994.

I recently came across some insightful email messages from Jack. Here’s one that I’m certain he would like to have shared more widely, even though they were simply rough notes related to a project:


There is a lot of attention given over to kits and manipulative materials for inquiry. Since these are not always available, it is worthwhile looking at what can be done without the kits, the manipulative blocks, etc.

Math

The Japanese schools use cardboard replicas of plastic tiles, and several teachers in the US have found that these can be cut out of file folders with a paper cutter. It is not necessary to have one set for each child, but the following sizes would be appropriate for each team:

  • 5 square units (half-inch squares are usually fine, but 1in or 1 cm can be used.)
  • 2 oblongs, 5 units long (e.g., .5 in by 2.5 in)
  • 5 oblongs, 10 units long (e.g., .5 in by 5 in)
  • 2 fifties (e.g., 2.5 in by 5 in)
  • 10 hundreds (e.g., 5 by 5 in)

With rulers, children can mark one side of the oblongs, fifties and hundreds into ways that show how they all fit together. Other sizes ( 20s, 40s, 25s, etc.) are often convenient, depending on the story problems (going to the bank, etc.) children are solving with these cardboard tiles.

Using bulletin board paper, scrolls of 500 or 1,000 units can also be cut and rolled up (e.g., 5 in by 25 in, or 5 in by 50 in). To make representations of even larger numbers is not much of a problem with the smaller sized units, but if you use 1 sq in as a unit, it begins to get out of hand.

The size of unit can be chosen not only with the fine motor coordination of children in mind, but with the fact that place value and round numbers upwards of 99 are much easier to talk about than those between 9 and 100. Smaller unit sizes (.5 in or 1 cm) should permit more meaningful work with scrolls for numbers like 5,000 or 10,000.

In my opinion, and that of a minority of mathematics educators, the word “ten” is one of the least often suspected but most often confused among number names. The problem may be that “ten” is not a word that easily takes adjectival modification as in “Two tens, three tens, etc.” Ten is most often used as an adjective itself as in “ten fingers, ten hundred, etc.” Research suggests that it takes children until about fourth grade to realize that ten can be a unit instead of just a counting number or the cardinal number of a collection (Cobb & Wheatley, 1988; Steffe, 1983; Steffe & Cobb, 1988.) Informal observations suggest that 100, 1,000, and 1,000,000 are treated as abstract units quite naturally by most 6-year-olds. The debate is whether or not young children can plausibly attach concrete representations to those units.

There are other troubles with the names of numbers greater than 9 and less than 100, e.g., 18 and 81 sound too much alike, both beginning with the word, “eight,” and there are few people who would think that “twenty” was originally pronounced, and possibly spelled, “twain tens.” (Some have tried introducing new number names, onety, twoty, threety, fourty, fivety, and doing that seems to help in regrouping, but teachers and parents complain that children don’t know how to translate them into standard English.) Saying how many tens there are in 11, 22, 35, etc. is no longer a part of English speech today. Instead, everyone learns to rattle off the counting numbers 1 to 100 without pausing to think that there are ten cycles in that series. It may work like telling time or money. (With digital timepieces, we count minutes from 01 to 59 and then hours. We count cents from 01 to 99 and then dollars.) Starting over, which is the essence of place value, is something we don’t seem to think about naturally with those funny two-digit number names. (In the orient, and many native American languages, number names are much more sensible than in European languages.) However, all is well when we get to a hundred and we have three digits. A great deal of regrouping in arithmetic, which is the real advantage of understanding place value, can be learned by working with cardboard tiles and scrolls, without adding and subtracting those peculiarly named numbers from 10 through 99. Adding and subtracting hundreds and thousands, multiplying and dividing by hundreds and by thousands teach place value well and provide ample practice for first and second graders on basic, one-digit addition and subtraction facts.

Cutting templates for drawing the cm size tiles and scrolls in coffee can lids permits children in first and second grade to represent numbers by drawings on paper instead of actually manipulating the tiles themselves. The Japanese have found that drawings of tiles to represent an operation is a valuable intermediate step between manipulation of tiles with number sentences and writing numerical algorithms without manipulations, for it helps children invent and test their own algorithms.

Geometrical forms can be cut out of folders or paper. Also, it is instructive to draw circles, squares, triangles, and other regular figures six or seven inches across and measure their circumferences in various ways. One way to measure a circumference is to set the compass for an inch or a cm of separation and count how many steps it takes to walk around the figure and back to the starting point.

Place a pencil across your hand near the tips of your fingers. Put the heel of your other hand on top of it. Predict, Observe, Explain (POE) where the pencil will be when you have moved the heel of your top hand back until it is over the heel of the bottom hand. Do this motion several times without the pencil, then POE where the pencil will be.

Architecture

Tiling patterns that repeat endlessly can be made on a flat surface. One interesting challenge is to design and cut-out a piece of paper that folds up to make a box, a prism, a pyramid, or some other shaped three-dimensional object.

Columns can be made from rolled or folded construction paper and tested for load bearing by piling textbooks on top. The number of science books, or math books, that a column can hold is something to predict, observe, and explain (POE). One can even measure (POEM) the length, diameter, and circumference of such columns and figure out some kind of graph that represents how those quantities relate to the load a column will carry. Applications (POEMA) of what has been learned can be found, in studying the structure of buildings, bridge supports, street light and traffic light posts, and in making models of buildings. (This is also a good use for science and mathematics books which children and teachers find boring.)

Making designs for stained glass windows with a compass is an intriguing activity. A six-pointed rose window is one goal, but many other designs are possible. Of course coloring one’s design in the most attractive way possible is an added challenge, which assumes everyone has some crayons, or whatever to color them with.

Optics

Punching a pencil through the middle of a dark piece of construction paper 8-11 inches wide and laying it down on a white piece of paper on a flat desk in a well-lighted classroom raises the following question: Looking at the white spot (after making the edges neat by tearing off or folding back the torn pieces the pencil left), try to predict (P) what shape and size that white spot will become when the dark paper is raised an inch or two. (Of the hundreds of people I have asked that question, only one 3rd grade girl, who must have tried it before and one physics Ph.D. could come close.) Observe and Explain (POE) what has been observed. Measure (POEM) how high the dark paper is raised above the white paper and measure what you can of the pattern of light you can see when looking underneath the dark paper (POEM). Is there a relation between the two measurements? What is the best way to make such measurements as you gradually raise the dark paper higher and higher? Plot a graph.

Apply (POEMA) this phenomenon to other sources of light besides schoolroom lights. E.g., tape the dark paper to the window, and cover the rest of the window(s) and turn out the lights. If you hold a thin piece of white paper near the pencil hole, can you see any pattern on the white paper? Substitute a magnifying glass or hand lens for the pencil hole? How does that change the way things look? the graph? Go outdoors on a sunny day with a piece of dark paper in which you have carefully cut three or four different shaped holes about the size of a dime or less. Hold the dark paper so it casts a shadow over a white paper. What is the shape of the light spots going through the holes? How do they change as you move the dark paper higher? (POEM)

Put some water in the plastic cup or glass bottle. Put a pencil in the water. How does it look? Why? If you can find a straight soda straw, put it in and compare it’s shape with the pencil. POE what you will see when you look through the soda straw into the water.

Air

  • Blow through a piece of tubing or soda straw into a jar or cup of water. What is the smallest bubble you can blow? What is the biggest bubble you can blow? Can you blow a bubble and suck it back in before it leaves the end of the tube or straw? What is inside the bubbles you blow? How is it different from the air in the room? Where does the air in the bubble come from? Where does it go when a bubble pops?
  • Put a wad of tissue or paper towel in the bottom of the plastic cup or glass bottle, big enough so it won’t fall out when you turn it upside down. (Use tape if necessary to hold it.) POE what will happen to the paper when you push it carefully up-side down into a coffee can, plastic tub, acquarium, or other large container half full of water. (POEM) Measure how much water goes into the cup or jar. If possible, make measurements at different depths under the water. Plot a graph of how much water goes into the jar for each depth under the water. POEMA What use can you think of for the air trapped in an open container under water? Can you arrange for a cricket or other small animal to breathe that air while under water? Pour out the air trapped in a container while it is under water. Do you think you could catch it in another container under the water, pouring it from one to the other under water? Borrow another container and try.
  • Put a soda straw into water and place your finger or thumb over the open end. Raise it out of the water. What is inside? Can you do that with a piece of hose? (POE) What makes the water run back when you let go? (POEA) Homework (with parental consent and assistance): Can you do it with a wide tube like a cardboard tube waterproofed with rubber cement or melted wax?
  • If you can get a box that a drink (milk or juice) was in, and put the hose over the straw, can you blow and suck on the tube to make the sides of the box go out and in? What does it take to make a tight fit? What happens when the air can leak around the straw? What happens to the tube when you blow or suck on it?

Social Studies
Graphs

  • Sample people in your class to find out how many live with grandparents, aunts and uncles, with one parent, two parents, etc.
  • Find out who knows where various foods are produced, what kind of people produce them, etc.
  • Find out what children think about where adults get the money they need for food and rent if they work at a bank, a store, a restaurant, a post office, a police station, a school, as a house cleaner, a nurse, a doctor, a care giver, a university, a power company, etc. What do such people have to spend money for to do their work?

Science

For the following science activities, certain other things like wax paper, a mirror, a soda straw, a milk carton, a large bowl, etc. are mentioned as needed. Other things in the generic kit may be used, and POEMA may be used also. They come from: Science Games & Puzzles, by Laurence B. White, Jr. drawings by Marc T. Brown, Addison Wesley, 1975

  • Racing drops of water on wax paper.
  • Stand sideways against a wall. Push the side of your foot against the wall. Now try to lift your other foot.
  • Dip one end of a drinking straw in dishwashing liquid. Take it out. Blow in the other end. Keep blowing. Try cut ting your straw end like a cross.
  • Blow bubbles on a very cold day. Your warm breath makes them very light.
  • Push a thumbtack into a pencil eraser. Touch the thumbtack on your lip. Rub the tack hard 20 times on your sleeve and touch it to your lips again.
  • Try to drop a coin into a glass under water in the middle of a big bowl.
  • Collect and taste rain water. Does it taste different from other water?
  • Try printing your name while looking at the pencil and paper in the mirror.
  • Roll a little piece of foil in a ball and drop it in a funnel. You cannot blow it out unless you stop up the funnel.
  • Balance a ruler on your finger. with & without a ball of clay on top.
  • Have your friend lay his (her) head on a table or desk while you tap softly on the bottom.
  • Hold a pencil in your teeth while scraping on it.
  • Is your pet right or left pawed? Put some food in a jar. Which paw is used?
  • Can you freeze a penny in the middle of a piece of ice?
  • Can you turn yourself upside down with a teaspoon?
  • Can you eat an apple without tasting it?
  • Which is longer your forearm or your foot?
  • Can you tie your arms in a knot? Cross them and hold the two ends of a tube while uncrossing.
  • Write ‘A BOX’ on a card and look at it in a mirror several different ways.
  • Punch three holes in a paper cup or milk carton. Which hole will squirt best?
  • Can water stick to itself? Punch two holes side by side.
  • Can you separate pepper and salt that have been mixed?
  • Roll down a slope a full can, an empty can, a hollow ball, a base ball, etc. Which one wins?
  • Tie a string around a nail, then tie the string around another nail, and another. This is how to make a string nail xylophone, which you can play with another nail.

What do Boston & Cambridge have to say to Champaign Unit 4?

violin_may06Ann Abbott inspired me to say more about the connections between the Boston desegregation experience in my last post and that of Champaign Unit 4.

I’d have to say that Boston is a good example of how not to do it. As I said in that post, Judge Garrity made the correct, and only legally justifiable decision, but rulings alone cannot accomplish much if there is widespread resistance, especially from political and religious leaders, school officials, and media. The racism thwarted integration of the schools, and in the process did major damage to the school system and to Boston as a civilized city.

In contrast, just across the Charles River, Cambridge managed relatively successful desegregation during the same period. Cambridge adopted a “freedom of choice” or “controlled open enrollment” desegregation plan in 1981. Parents would specify a list of  the schools they wanted their children to attend. Their preferences were followed as long as explicit desegregation controls could be maintained. There were no guarantees of attending any particular school.

Graham_parksBecause the program was coupled with interesting magnet programs at every school, there were many viable options for families. As parents we almost welcomed the fact that we didn’t have to make the final choice between the Maynard School’s dual language (two-way Spanish-English bilingual) program, Tobin’s School of the Future, with innovative uses new technologies, the Graham & Parks Alternative Public School, with its open education plan (see mural above), or the closer by Peabody, Fitzgerald, or Lincoln schools, each with things to recommend it. It helped that Cambridge did not have the urban sprawl of midwestern cities, which meant that unlike Champaign, Cambridge offered several schools within walking distance.

Although not without its problems, this plan was effective in substantially desegregating Cambridge schools, and maintained public support and involvement with the public schools. It’s not surprising then that Robert Peterkin, Superintendent, was called in as a consultant on the similar plan in Champaign. The story in Champaign is still unfolding (as it is in Cambridge and Boston as well). But if I had to draw lessons today from these three experiences, I’d say that it’s essential for Champaign residents today to avoid the disastrous path of resistance that Boston experienced

champaignThe Champaign school district has been struggling to address concerns such as too many black students in special education and discipline referrals; too few in gifted and honors classes; and black students being bused out of their neighborhoods. Responses such as denying the problems or siting new schools outside of black communities (though still technically north side) remind me of Boston’s response. Everyone would benefit if the school system and residents were to embrace not only the technical details of the Cambridge (or similar) plan, but also the spirit that saw how desegregation could enrich the learning for all.

References

Creating opportunity through new media

clay_animationOne of the most impressive set of projects I saw while in Dublin, Ireland last year was the Community Links Programme out of Dublin Institute of Technology. It was established in 1996 by DIT lecturer Dr. Tommy Cooke to help individuals and communities reach their full educational potential. Programs include psychotherapy, music, and courses for mature students.

One important component is the DISC Programme, which operates in 38 inner-city disadvantaged primary and secondary schools. DISC installs computer resources in schools and community centers, and trains teachers to integrate the use of computers into the teaching/learning process in all curricular areas. Projects include the use of comic creation, clay animation, video production, class blogs, podcasting, video game making, 3d design, and robotic Lego.

Staff such as
Ian Roller and Riona Fitzgerald bring knowledge of pedagogy together with skills in video and computers to help teachers and youth leaders do amazing projects. More importantly, they do it in a way that empowers teachers as creative agents in the education process.

You can see DISC publications, including their very useful monthly newsletter online. Here’s the April edition.

Fondation Connaissance et Liberté (FOKAL)

accueil_biblio1 I was very fortunate to hear Elizabeth Pierre-Louis speak yesterday.

Elizabeth was on campus to accept the 2008 Young Humanitarian Award. As Director of the Library Program at Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libète (FOKAL) in Haiti, she helped to set up 45 community libraries across the country. She coordinates the training and management of these libraries, which are improving the quality of live for the people there. Elizabeth described a wide variety of programs of FOKAL, including projects on supplying running water, developing basic literacy, supporting the visual arts, dance and music, debate, and economic education.

Throughout these many programs, there is an emphasis on participatory democracy, including organization and responsibility of citizens, leadership, financial and technical management, resolving conflicts, and collective decision making. Elizabeth’s work is just part of an amazing organization helping people work together toward common purposes.

The photo, of the Monique Calixte Library in FOKAL’s Cultural Center, and this text below are from the FOKAL site.

The Fondation Connaissance et Liberté / Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libète (FOKAL) Cultural Center, built in 2003 in the center of Port-au-Prince thanks to funding from the Open Society Institute (OSI) and support from George Soros, is designed for meetings, training, reading, debates, recreation and discovery.

The center is comprised of a public library, with a membership of over 5,000 where children and youths from the poor neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince have access to reading materials in optimal conditions, a small auditorium, a café-terrasse and a cybercafé. The UNESCO auditorium is a hall designed for conferences, debates, meetings, audio-visual presentations, films, concerts and theatre. The center also includes a large atrium where one can discover the works of both Haitian and foreign painters, writers, and sculptors; and a sound and video production studio, a training hall and gardens…

FOKAL’s cultural center offers a place, eminently rare in Haiti, where peasants, women, children and youths from poor neighborhoods have a chance to interact with each other and with representatives of all sectors of society on subjects which concern education, the environment, culture, and democracy…