Merkabah Breaks down Humanitarian Barriers

As an Intel for Change Ambassador, Chrissy Boulin 14C reaches Haitian children with education.

By Chrissybil Boulin 14C

EmoryWire is proud to present this essay by A World at School Global Youth Ambassador from the United States Chrissybil Boulin 14C. Boulin has founded Merkabah International Foundation, a nonprofit that will provide an innovative educational model for the poorest children in Haiti and the world. In 2014, Boulin was also chosen as an Intel for Change Ambassador. Here is her vision.

When I was a little girl visiting my father in Haiti, I always felt like something was very wrong. I would see children barely five or six years old chasing after my dad’s car in the middle of the night.

They frantically ran after the old Toyota in hopes of earning some spare change. When he explained to me that these children were so poor they could not afford to have a childhood, I vowed that when I was older I would come back to Haiti to create positive change in their lives.

Incorporating my experience in India and knowledge of NGO institutions, I began to think of creating my own nonprofit to tackle education, or the lack thereof. After graduating from Emory University in December of 2014, I moved to Haiti to teach mindfulness and wellness methods to children and start building my organization.Two years ago, I was chosen as an Intel for Change Ambassador for girls' educational issues. I was flown to India where I filmed a documentary on the barriers faced by children in the developing world.

Although there have been many challenges such as a lack of running water, electricity and much political unrest, I have never felt more passionate about anything in my life!

Merkabah International Foundation is a nonprofit that aims to implement an educational system that truly prepares children to excel in our ever-changing society. Using earth citizenship and mindfulness training as its premise, children will learn to excel mentally, physically and emotionally.

Built with tires and plastic bottles, the school will use solar energy to power itself and grow its own vegetation using greenhouse technology. This will enable students to have an alliance with their highest selves as well as with the planet.

With small classroom sizes of no more than six children per teacher, students will learn through individualized attention and lesson plans. Working with educational innovators such as Rex Miller who study how spaces and environments shape student success will truly prepare students to excel in every aspect of their lives. 

What is Mindfulness?

As of now, my school children have been introduced to mindfulness. Even while living in poverty, at only five years old they are learning the importance of having dreams, of releasing anxiety through the body and are on their way to true self-mastery.

Viewpoint

They are starting to understand how to create positive emotions through integrating and releasing painful memories and are truly better prepared to navigate through life.

When we invest in the children of the world, we save our own lives.

Currently, we have secured free legal representation in both Haiti and the United States to help us file for NGO status and have volunteers working to help make this dream a reality. However, we are still in the beginning stages of building Merkabah and much support is required to meet the financial and institutional needs of implementing this new educational model in Haiti.

When we invest in the children of the world, we save our own lives. Seeing the smiling faces of my class of first graders after just a few weeks of mindfulness training proved to me that the work we are doing is powerful enough to change the world.

Within the sparkle in their eyes lie the answers and solutions to our greatest humanitarian barriers. With a proper educational curriculum that addresses personal, interpersonal and intellectual development, these children will be prepared to succeed in creating a prosperous future for our planet. Self-empowerment is the key to unlocking this potential.

Editor’s Note:

For more information on A World at School and to learn more about its initiatives to “magnify the efforts of all organizations working to get all children into school and learning,” please visit here. To reach Merkabah, please email merkabah.foundation@gmail.com.

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Michelle Valigursky