Maui News


March 2, 2009, 12:31 PM HST
* Updated March 2, 5:17 PM
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verlintaro_large_01A native Hawaiian agricultural program that seeks to improve the quality of life of formerly incarcerated persons and Native Hawaiian Families, is the recipient of a $50,000 grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.The (Ke) Kahua Cultural Learning Center Project in Waiehu provides hands on training in taro farming, cultivation of native plants, rock wall building and landscaping using traditional and modern techniques.The program is operated by Maui Economic Opportunity for clients in the BEST reintegration program, with hopes of providing participants with marketable skills to enhance their opportunities for employment, occupation, income and socioeconomic status.

“Through the guiding standard of “Ma ka hana ka’ike (through doing is knowledge) and the principle of “Malama `aina” (Caring for the Land), the participants will enhance their social, cultural, economic, physical, emotional, spiritual and educational well being,” said MEO CEO Sandy Baz.

“Ke Kahua will provide a nurturing learning environment that will allow participants to better understand their kuleana and live in a manner that is pono not only for themselves, but for their `ohana and the Hawaiian community. By continuing to provide comprehensive transitional support services and job training services, MEO BEST will strengthen familial relationships, connect participants with the surrounding Native Hawaiian community, and reduce the recidivism rates of Native Hawaiian prisoners. In turn, this will strengthen Native Hawaiian families and build safer communities for all of us,” said Baz.

The funds will allow approximately 200 Native Hawaiians to attend a project orientation, provide them with material, train a work crew of 50 accomplish site preparation for the greenhouse, begin the water project, start building a stone wall and create mulch and composting areas.

(Posted by Wendy OSHER © 2009)(Photo Courtesy:MEO)

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