15) Powerpoint Presentations About the House of Flowers and Montessori Available (July 2013)

Allison Lide, Montessori teacher and Co-Founder/Education Coordinator of the House of Flowers,  has made presentations about the House of Flowers as well as Montessori education philosophy.These powerpoints provide explanations about the House of Flowers and Montessori education, and contain photos and videos of both the House of Flowers as well as  exemplary Montessori classrooms in the United States.

To access them please go to the Links and Connections page, or click here.

**In August 2013 she will be presenting again at the International Montessori Congress Conference. Please check back later to see the powerpoint for that presentation as well.

14) Some Potential Undertakings (details from the Summer Newsletter highlights, July 2013)

  • Hitting the Big Time! The House of Flowers might be in the movies! Anna Lee, a Montessori teacher and head of school who presented at a TEDx talk about Montessori education, is in the process of attaining support to produce a documentary film about Montessori programs around the world. She is very keen on highlighting the House of Flowers as one of them, and a cameraman in Kabul may be heading to the House of Flowers soon to do filming!
  • Girls Education VideoIn addition, in May a team from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation visited the House of Flowers to film our educational program in their special on girls education in Afghanistan. The House of Flowers was shown as an exemplary model that supports girls education and their holistic development. We will let you know if/when we have a link to the program to see the video.

  • The Importance of Art The French art group Constellation, which has a history of doing art with children and worked with the House of Flowers some years ago, may be coming back for more! In this project, the Constellation staff brings art supplies and then facilitates an enriching and stimulating day of art with the children. The results are always beautiful. Once it happens and we have pictures, we’ll share them with you!
  •  Montessori Materials in DariA Collaboration The Montessori pedagogical materials of charts and timelines provide the structure for teaching geography, botany and history. But the materials at the House of Flowers are in English. Benoit Dubruc of the Montessori community has very generously offered to produce a set of materials in Dari for the House of Flowers, but this requires careful translation of many technical terms, especially in geography.
  • Enter Sholeh Elhami: A long-time friend of the House of Flowers who visited the House in 2005 and founder of GISCorps, a volunteer geographers association, Sholeh is linking the House of Flowers with two Afghan geographers in Kabul. Besides the translation work that they will hopefully help with, we are very excited about the potential of their visiting the House of Flowers. It would be an extremely powerful example for the children to meet Afghan professors and professionals as many of our children are reaching the end of high school and will begin considering their career options.
  • University of Salerno Collaboration  Two intensely dedicated supporters of the House of Flowers, Paola Valitutti and Susanna Fioretti, have made connections with a pedagogy expert at the University of Salerno in Italy. There is potential for this collaboration to result in support for further translation of Montessori materials, publication of Fatima and Qudsieh’s journals and writings about the Montessori teaching experiences in Kabul, and maybe even some small-scale training of other teachers.
These potential projects are encouraging and exciting. They remind us of the depth of the House of Flowers project, and all the different people who bring so many talents and so much care to the work with the children. 
We will keep you posted! And if you have any other ideas, please be in touch.

13) Summer Newsletter July 2013 – Plumbing,Movies and More at the House of Flowers

Dear Friends of MEPO and the House of Flowers,

It is summer in Kabul. For the children of the House of Flowers, that means lots of time to play in the backyard before cooling off in the shade, enjoying luscious watermelon. For the adults, this year that means Ramadan, the month of daily fasting – not easy during the long hot days of summer.

The past 3 months have been generally smooth and steady, with the types of events that come with a house full of children. The teachers continue to send reports of their creative classrooms, thoughtful and generous individuals continue to reach out to us, and fundraising efforts are steady.

Some highlights of life in the House of Flowers during the spring:
  • Razia: Razia’s university studies are well underway, and she is the happy beneficiary of a scholarship from the organization A More Balanced World, providing her with a monthly stipend administered through the House of Flowers.
  • Plumbing: Running a house full of children creates a lot of wear and tear! Recently the staff has been struggling with an ongoing water leakage problem at the House. This level of maintenance was not anticipated in our budget, with repairs expected to be hundreds of dollars. We are very grateful to the organization Canadian Women for Women of Afghanistan that is offering to help offset these repair costs.
  • The Children: Over the past three months, there are endless stories of the children’s escapades and daily lives. Some not so fun, like hearing that 11-year-old Naqeeb fell down outside and broke his arm. Other stories are wonderful and heartwarming, like Fatima’s description of the children working together in her class:

“Abdurrahman helps with Allijuma to read and write; he is a new boy in class 3rd .
Wahida  helps Sahar  in reading and writing.
 Feroza and Fereshta  help Ikram , Mujtaba  and  Farida  in all lessons. They are working together by help of each other. I think when children help each other it is a very good way for review of last lessons. They will become a very good helpers in the future in the way of Razia.”

  •  The Staff: The teachers Fatima and Qudsieh continue to grow and develop as creative implementers of Montessori pedagogy. They regularly send pictures of the children’s activities, and the classrooms are adorned with the children’s work. They are strengthening the children’s writing through creative essay topics.
  • We are hoping to be able to send one of the teachers for AMI Montessori training in India next year, but will need to find sponsors for support. If anyone is interested in helping support a teacher for training, please let us know! Write to us at mepo.hope@gmail.com
  • The rest of the staff are well, except that Khaled, our beloved quiet and gentle guard, had to resign his position due to his health issues. Everyone misses him.
Updates About MEPO:
  • Charitable Support in Other Countries MEPO specializes in providing immediate support to those in need whenever and wherever such people are encountered. Over the past months MEPO has spent about $3000 providing such individualized support through free medical check-ups, purchases of medicines, food aid, clothing, and financial aid to people in Nepal and India.
  • Sharing Our Story : In April, Allison presented to the Montessori headquarters community in Amsterdam, telling the story of the House of Flowers as a Montessori environment. In July she will also be presenting about the House of Flowers at the International Montessori Congress in Portland, Oregon.
  • Both talks explain how we have adapted Montessori education to the Afghan environment by focusing on the essential principles of Montessori, and how much the children have benefited.
  • Finances: Fundraising has been steady and some wonderful developments have occurred, including a generous grant from the Canadian Women for Women of Afghanistan. This grant has the potential for renewal after 6 months, providing much needed continuity. We continue to search for foundations interested in supporting the House of Flowers, as well as Montessori schools that would like to become part of this effort.
Some Exciting Things That Might Be Coming...

[Click here to read more details of each item below.)

  • Hitting the Big Time! The House of Flowers might be in the movies!
  • The Importance of Art A French project called Constellation hopes to return to do art with the House of Flowers children.
  • Girls Education The House of Flowers featured in a story produced for Canadian Broadcasting
  • Montessori Materials in DariA Collaboration A generous offer to produce a full set of Montessori geography and science charts in Dari language for the House of Flowers – the first time Montessori would be translated into this language.
  • University of Salerno Collaboration A professor of pedagogy is interested in helping support efforts to share the House of Flowers model with others in Afghanistan.

 

As always, we have so much to be grateful for. We would like to thank…
  • Reza Mohammadi, who regularly and cheerfully delivers packages and resources to the House of Flowers in Kabul.
  • Canadian Women for Women of Afghanistan staff and members for their ongoing and creative support of the House of Flowers.
  • Jerry and Sydney Schardt, volunteers in Ohio who take care of correspondence with donors and do the accounting and bookkeeping for MEPO
  • Members who have been committed to monthly support of the House of Flowers.

ALL of you who have given of your time, support, energy and love.

We would love to hear from you!