IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
The Other Side Campaign is a partnership between Jason Derulo, Jordin Sparks, The M.A.D. Girls Inc., GreaterGood.org, The Literacy Site, Affinity.is, and Dream Weaver Foundation. We believe that by investing in education, we can open the door of opportunity to help those struggling with health, literacy, and self-esteem by providing resources, education, and a helping hand.LEARN MORE
On January 9th, 2014, The Other Side Campaign was officially kicked off with a site visit to the Lekòl Kominotè Matènwa (LKM) School on the island of La Gonâve, Haiti. The school sits atop a mountain in the small village of Matènwa, 10 miles up a steep rocky road that takes 2 hours to ascend by 4-wheel-drive truck. This remote village, isolated from the larger port towns on La Gonâve and even more isolated from the mainland of Haiti itself, is special. It is home to the only model school in the entire country, officially designated by the Ministry of Education of Haiti.
LKM School received its model school designation in part because it is one of the only schools in Haiti to teach its students in their native language of Creole. 100% of Haitians speak Creole fluently, but most schools in the country are taught in the national language of French. Because of this, most students cannot read at their grade level, fall behind on their studies, and fail benchmark tests–most of them also administered in French. LKM also does not utilize the practice of corporal punishment, which comes standard at many of the schools in Haiti. They take a firm stance that physical and verbal violence against children will not be tolerated in the classroom, and their happy students, eager to learn, are all the proof you need to know LKM means it.
On the morning of the 9th, the team of Jason Derulo, Jordin Sparks The M.A.D. Girls Inc., GreaterGood.org, The Literacy Site, Affinity.is, and Dream Weaver Foundation met in Port au Prince before taking two small 9-seater propeller planes on the 30 minute flight to the island of La Gonâve. Joining Jason were his two brothers, Joel Jr. and Tim; his two cousins, Harry and Henry; and his father, Joel Sr. This trip was especially meaningful for the Derulo family–they are of Haitian descent, and while Joel Sr. was born in Haiti, his sons and nephews had not been their since they were small children. Together, the Derulo’s were revisiting their heritage and helping the country Joel Sr. calls home.
We landed on the dirt air strip on La Gonâve, and the team split up into two trucks borrowed by the school so we could make the arduous journey up the mountain. After over two hours crammed with our luggage in the back of our vehicles, we stepped out into the village of Matènwa. With no time to waste, we were ushered through the gates of LKM and into an open air multi-purpose room so we could give introductions to the staff and teachers of LKM who were opening their doors to accept such a large group of strangers. One thing became immediately clear: this place was indeed special.
After 2 days of meeting teachers, observing classrooms, dancing and performing with students, and sitting in on a teacher training for other schools on La Gonâve anxious duplicate LKM’s success, there was no argument that investing in LKM would mean bettering education for thousands of students and that LKM’s success has far reaching implications for the rest of La Gonâve and Haiti.
Currently, The LKM School has grades kindergarten through 9. At this time, students ready for grade 10 must decide whether or not to continue on at another school. Because most schools in Haiti are private, the choice often comes down to money, and often the choice is no. The Other Side believes we can open the door to opportunity–a better job, a college education, self-sufficiency–by making sure students can finish high school. That is why we are funding the completion of grades 10-13 at LKM to ensure students will finish and have the opportunities for growth they deserve.
We want you to join Jordin, Jason, and the rest of The Other Side Campaign team. Sign up for our newsletter to learn more, and check back often for updates. Learn more about how to get involved.