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Teacher Summit 2014 a Great Success!

July 18, 2014
Erik Badger

On July 9-11 in Darbonne we held our annual Teacher Summit training. Nine excellent teachers and administrators from Holland, MI – all brought together by Calvary Church – came and spent two and a half days with 65 of our partner school teachers. They brought with them a host of high quality teaching materials – a full suitcase for each school! – and a whole bunch of great lessons they designed specifically for our teachers. By request, the lessons followed up on work that we’ve done over the last two years, reached across the content spectrum, and provided our teachers with a whole series of student-centered, engaging and interactive methods and activities for the classroom.

Haiti Partners is very grateful to this excellent group of educators who devote so much time and effort each year to help our partner school teachers improve at what they do.  We’re also very grateful to Calvary Church for supporting this effort. We had a great time and we look forward to staying in touch throughout the year and doing it again next year!

Jodie and James Kitchens share their Haiti experience


Jodie with her son James, Haiti Partners Co-director John Engle, and John’s son, Daniel.

May 2, 2014

Haiti Partners was recently blessed to receive Jodie Kitchens and her son, James, in Haiti.  Below is an excellent piece about her experience with us as well as a video made by James. We’re grateful to them both for sharing and coming to learn about Haiti.

Thank you, Jodie and James!


During a recent spring break from high school, my son and I decided to step way out of our comfort zone and arrange to visit Haiti Partners for a week at the Bellevue Guest House.  John and I went to primary and secondary school together many years ago, and I had kept up with his work in Haiti.  This would be a great time for James, my 17 year old son, to gain experiences as he is deciding his future direction.  The trip was all that and more for both of us!

Here are some highlights:

Children’s Academy:

There are two rooms of thirty students each class at Children’s Academy.  Although the open air nature of the school seems different to us, it’s quite common both for school and general household living.  As we walked up to the classrooms with John, the children welcomed us with open arms, quite literally.  Warm, inviting hugs!

We were fascinated to see the progress that Extollo, the construction company from California, was having in training local Haitians on earthquake proof building techniques as well as the progress on the building itself.  Having the bakery functional is not far off!

WOZO Choir:

A number of times during the visit we were entertained by this group of artists.  The music and teamwork is soul-lifting!  We were especially blessed when James played one of his songs on guitar for the group and quickly members of the choir layered a distinctly Haitian beat on his fiddle tune using the drums available:  A true and joyful melding of cultures.

Home Visit:James

James and I appreciated Alex’s help delivering a baby blanket to a family from the school that recently had a baby boy.  The family had obviously dressed up for our visit with all members in their Sunday best.  Immediately, the mother put the baby in James’ arms.  After the sheer panic wore off, he did great.  And the family was truly appreciative of the blanket, treats and our willingness to come to their home.

Community Meetings:

A large circle of parents and community members are gathered to listen to Rosedanie Cadet, from Helping Hands Noramise, review techniques eating healthier even when options and money are limited.  I loved her hands on style of engagement; encouraging questions, using props of food purchased at the market and ensuring respect in the classroom.  She has definitely left a mark on my heart.

Later in the week, we attended a community meeting back at the school.  It’s a cornerstone to the efforts at the school to build community, develop a more democratic approach to issues and to provide a forum to improve lives in the community.  Topics included health concerns, clean water, and the successful registration of next year’s Children’s Academy class of students.

Business Meetings:

Throughout the week, John graciously allowed me to participate in some business and partner meetings:  YUNUS Social Business and Beyond Borders to name a few.  I continued to be impressed by the level of professionalism and caring the individuals exhibited in their daily jobs.  And finally, we were guests at the monthly Haiti Partners staff meeting.

Other sightseeing included a hike to Fort Jacques, a trip to Darbonne to see the Henri Christophe school, the new poultry plant in partnership with YUNUS Social Business, the  Habitat for Humanity village, and the composting in partnership with GiveLove.

I was asked to share what I had thought I would find in Haiti and how my experience had been surprising.  My expectations of being fearful and concerned have given way as I’ve been met over and over by gracious and engaging people -  especially the young adults of the WOZO choir.

I am struck by how much I have laughed, smiled and how uplifted I have been.  The Haitians say ‘Mountain after mountain’ to characterize the challenge after challenge that Haitians have had to overcome.  The group today appears to be committed to skipping up these mountains arm in arm while singing and laughing!

More detailed information about our trip is open to the public and can be found on my Facebook page under Jodie Snyder Kitchens.



A great way to get involved and learn more about our work is to come to one of our events. Here’s a list of scheduled events. For more information on a specific event, see the contact info below.


Stories of Gratitude Luncheon

Date: February 2015

Location: TBD

Purpose: We are so grateful for your friendship and partnership in this work.  We want to celebrate with you, share stories, and look forward together to what is ahead.

Who’s Invited: Open to the Public

Cost: TBD

For more information, contact Deborah Girling (

Bridges Benefit – SF Bay Area

Date: April 22, 2014

Location: Bridges Restaurant and Bar, 44 Church Street Danville, CA

Purpose: Join Co-directors Kent Annan and John Engle who will share stories of hope from their work in Haiti. Connect with other Haiti Partners supporters in the Bay Area, including friends from Extollo, BAR Architects, Architecture for Humanity, and Miyamoto International. Learn how you can get involved in this exciting work.

Who’s Invited: Open to the Public. Tickets will be available in early 2014.

For more information, contact Jesse Engle (


Annual Partner Conference

Date: April 2015

Location: Community Church of Vero Beach, 1901 23rd Street, Vero Beach, FL

Purpose: This collaborative weekend brings in Haitian speakers as well as supporters of Haiti Partners and many other organizations to heighten awareness of the issues and developments for the country of Haiti. Multiple discussion times allow for interaction with many contributors to Haiti’s growth.

Who’s Invited: Open to anyone interested in Haiti and Haiti Partners’ work there.

Anticipated costs: $100-$150 per person with possible sponsorships/scholarships.

History: Haiti Partners has been holding this event for several years to introduce, invite, and engage people in our work in Haiti. To view a blog post from a previous year, click here.

For more information, contact Jonathan Chan ( or Deborah Girling (


Micah Scholar Conference

Dates: June 1-3, 2014

Location: Villa Ormiso 7, Bizoton 53 Carrefour. Villa Ormiso is a very pleasant space to hold meetings. There is a large conference room and a dormitory with a capacity for 70 persons. There is parking, swimming pool and wireless Internet.

Purpose: The Micah Scholars Conference is an intensive time of collaboration, training, and immersion at the intersection of worship, theology, and the work of justice in the Haitian Church. Haitian and North American theologians, pastors, and justice practitioners lead the keynote sessions, and participants collaborate in workshops and discussions.

Who’s Invited: This event is primarily for our Micah Scholars, but the first day includes multiple sessions open to Haitian pastors and church leaders, as well as North American Christians living in Haiti. Attendance is by invitation only, as space is limited. To request an invite, contact the event organizers.

Anticipated costs:  Costs vary roughly between free and $30 depending whether a participant represents an NGO, is a resident or an expatriate, and how much of the event s/he attends.

History: The First Micah Scholars Retreat took place in June 2012, keynoted by Dr. Luke Powery, Dean of the Duke University Chapel, and Brent Driggers, professor at Lutheran Southern Theological Seminary. Additional speakers included Enel Angervil, Valery Vital-Herne, Grace Vargas, Emese Balogh, and all 15 Micah Scholars then enrolled in the program. The 2nd Micah Scholars Retreat took place in June 2013, with keynote speakers Dr. Sara Koenig of Seattle Pacific University, and Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert of Howard University. Additional speakers included Enel Angervil, Valery Vital-Herne, Dr. Jean Dorlus, and Erwin Titus. To view a blog post from a previous year, click here.

For more information, contact Enel Angervil ( or Jonathan Chan (


Annual Haiti Open Space Conference

Dates: June 26-28, 2014

Location: Darbonne, Leogane, Haiti.

Purpose: The goal of this annual Open Space conference is to bring together people from all over Haiti and abroad toward the common goal of identifying Haiti’s pressing issues and how to overcome them. Open Space Technology (OST) is an approach for hosting meetings focused on a specific and important purpose or task—but beginning without any formal agenda, beyond the overall purpose or theme.

Who’s Invited: The meeting is open to anyone – from within or outside Haiti – interested in learning about and/or engaging with the issues Haiti faces. Most participants are engaged in development work of one form or another: community/church leaders, teachers, aid workers, etc.

Anticipated costs: Costs vary roughly between $250 and $130 depending whether a participant represents an NGO, is a resident or an expatriate, and how much of the conference s/he attends.

History: The Annual Haiti Open Space Conference was first held in 2001. Haiti Partners cofounder, John Engle, had by that time been promoting Open Space Technology in Haiti for a few years. A stark contrast to traditional authoritarian practice in Haiti, the vibrantly democratic approach to conducting meetings was well received and soon a small but committed network of educators and community and church leaders coalesced around it.  Over time, John pulled back from organizing the events and our Haitian colleagues – in particular, Frémy Cesar and Abelard Xavier – took over. In 2013, with over 60 participants, we celebrated 12 years of the Annual Haiti Open Space Conference. To view a blog post from a previous year, click here.

For more information, contact Erik Badger ( or Abelard Xavier (

Children’s Academy & Learning Center Annual Celebration

Dates: February 2015

Location: Children’s Academy in Baocia, Haiti, a 20 minute drive up the hill from Petionville.

Purpose: To celebrate the anniversary of the dedication of the first building, the creation of the Children’s Academy and the ongoing development in the community of Baocia.

Who’s Invited: This celebration is open to anyone – from within or outside Haiti – interested in learning about, engaging with and celebrating the Children’s Academy and the ongoing development in the community of Baocia.

Anticipated costs: The event is free, though international visitors will need to cover airfare and lodging.

For more information, contact Erik Badger (

Kenbe La Foundation Builds Classrooms at Henri Christophe Community School

May 25, 2013

Last month the Kenbe La Foundation sent a 4-person team to Darbonne all the way from New Zealand for 19 days to lead construction on a 3-room building at Henri Christophe Community School. The building materials were sent in containers directly from New Zealand.

In preparation for the construction, Haiti Partners worked with the leadership at Henri Christophe to have a cement foundation built directly in front of the school. Once they arrived, the Kenbe La team worked tirelessly in the Haitian heat constructing the building on the foundation.

These new classrooms will provide more room for the school to function and for current students to thrive. It also opens up opportunities for growth which didn’t exist before, creating the hopeful possibility that the school can now provide a quality education to more students in the community.

Haiti Partners and Henri Christophe Community School would like to thank the Kenbe La Foundation for their engagement, commitment, and dedication to this project. Thank you!

Social Business


Haiti’s education system faces grave financial challenges. Minimal government support means that 90% of schools must rely on enrollment fees or donations to support their work. With widespread poverty, most families can’t afford to pay and schools either end up scraping by to survive, or get trapped in unhealthy dependency on outside support.

To truly “help Haitians change Haiti”, these challenges must be addressed in a way that builds real financial independence. We’re working with our partner schools and the Children’s Academy to start innovative social businesses – for-profit cooperatives that are designed to create jobs, address economic needs in the community, and in time, generate profits that will help cover the schools’ operating costs.

We’re blessed to have the partnership of Yunus Social Business, founded by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus, the father of modern microfinance. YSB provides expertise and training in business development, and works with international corporations such as SAP and Accenture to secure low-interest loans with eight-year repayment period. Over the last two years, we’ve worked with YSB to lay the groundwork for successful social entrepreneurship: developing business plans, training community leaders, and building local support.

We’re currently working to launch four different social businesses. On La Gonave, we’re launching a poultry farm that will support the Bel Platon Community School. In Darbonne, four of our partner schools have come together to establish another poultry farm on a much larger scale. And in Bawosya, at the Children’s Academy, we’re starting two different social businesses: a bakery, and a construction company in partnership with Extollo International, a San Francisco based non-profit that works to train and establish Haitian building firms.

These businesses will be independent for-profit cooperatives, overseen by many of the same trusted colleagues that make our other programs possible. And in addition to loans secured through YSB, we’ve received additional start-up capital through grants from the Pan-American Development Foundation and USAID. We’re excited for what’s to come!

*To view blog posts about social business, click here.


Remembering… 3 years ago today rebuilding effort…

Remembering… 3 years ago today rebuilding efforts in Darbonne, Haiti.

Remembering… John’s first visit to Darbonne afte…

Remembering… John’s first visit to Darbonne after the earthquake.

Remembering… John’s first visit to Darbonne afte…

Remembering… John’s first visit to Darbonne after the earthquake.

3 years after the earthquake, we look back: John’s…

3 years after the earthquake, we look back: John’s 1st report from Darbonne & our partner schools

InterVarsity Global Project Team in Haiti

July 1, 2012

It’s been great hosting InterVarsity Project Team in Haiti at our home/guesthouse (John and Merline Engle) for their last three days in Haiti. For two and a half weeks they spent time in the villages of Darbonne and Cabois teaching English in our partner schools and living and connecting with local families. Today they return to US. We’ll miss them! Here’s a fun video of them singing and dancing with Haiti Partners Youth Choir, WOZO:

More photos and videos of their time at partner schools and in villages coming!

Fabulous Haiti Video – Tragedy and Hope

December 4, 2011

The Kenbe La Foundation was founded by New Zealander Emily Sanson-Rejouis in honor of her husband Emmanuel (Haitian) and their two small children, Kofie-Jade (5) and Zenzie (3) who lost their lives in the 2010 earthquake. Click here to read this story of tragedy and hope that brings tears to my (John) and my wife Merline’s eyes nearly every time we think of it. Like countless others, we draw inspiration from Emily’s determination to “Kenbe la” (Never Give Up) and to help children in Haiti.

Please, I encourage you to watch this video. It fabulously communicates Haitian talent and also determination in the face of tragedy. My children Daniel (5) and Leila (3) request it be played regularly. They break into dance immediately when hearing it and sing along. Kofie-Jade, Zenzie and Emmanuel, we regret we never met you even though we feel like we know you. We feel your spirits here with us when our family dances together to Kenbe La.

Haiti Partners is honored to be in partnership with Kenbe La Foundation. Three containers filled with school furniture and supplies and a prefab building that will be used as a clinic beside Henri Christophe School are on their way to Haiti. Once they land, the UN (Emily and Emmanuel were UN staff) will deliver them to Darbonne for our partner schools. Emily and a team of construction professionals are planning to come to Haiti in April 2012 to work with community members to erect the building and transform the containers into usable space for a clinic and the school. Emily, Merline and I can’t wait to finally meet you in person.


The Need

Nearly 50% of school age children don’t go to school. 90% of schools must rely solely on enrollment fees to support their work. Unfortunately, families – more than 50% of Haitians live on less than a $1 a day – can’t afford to pay much and schools scrape by just to survive. Teachers regularly go unpaid, facilities are dreadfully inadequate, and students lack even basic educational materials.

Haiti Partners’ SCHOOLS program responds to this with a two-pronged approach: the Children’s Academy and Learning Center, and the Partner School Strategy.

The Children’s Academy and Learning Center

The Haiti Partners Children’s Academy and Learning Center serves as an incubator for the approaches and ideas that will reshape education toward a stronger, more democratic Haiti. Combining a high quality school, a profitable social business, and a learning center for local residents and visiting Haitian educators, it will be a catalyst for rethinking education and the role of schools in community development. The Children’s Academy works hand-in-glove with the partner schools, where multiple environments help to refine and contextualize new ideas and practices for quality education and social business throughout Haiti. More >

The Partner School Strategy

The partner school strategy was inspired by a sustainable education model developed by a grassroots organization in a remote area of Haiti. We select schools with strong leadership but lacking in resources. Together with them we develop an accord and work plan for accompanying them over the course of a set number of years. During this time we build capacity through substantial training, improve the school’s infrastructure, and provide access to seed capital and support to create a social business helping them along the road toward long-term financial independence.

The partner school model helps students:

    • Develop their God-given potential
    • Cultivate their sense of character and personal responsibility
    • Become engaged citizens and community members

And helps the school:

    • Engage teachers, parents, and students to continually improve their school
    • Become sustainable long-term
    • Share their learning with others to replicate success

Learn More

Below is a list of the schools that Haiti Partners currently partners with. We are interested in developing relationships with individuals, groups and schools in the US and elsewhere to help us support these partner schools. If you are interested in partnering with us to help support any of these schools, please contact us at:

To see a map of Partner School locations, click here.

To read  more about Partner School goals, click here.

To read notes from Partner School meetings, click here.

Partner With Us

    • $1 a day ($360/year) sends a child to school for the entire year
    • $3,600 ($300/month) supports a classroom for a year
    • $20,000 supports an entire school for a year

Your partnership:

    • Improves facilities and provides educational materials for students
    • Trains teachers in student-centered, innovative education methods
    • Provides training for school staff and local community to create social businesses that can help pay for teacher salaries and other expenses


New Partnership: Music for Students

August 9, 2011

We’re saying goodbye to friends Allan Klotsche and Mary Pautz as they return to Vero Beach tomorrow. But, they’ll be back soon!

Below, Mary and Allan are pictured with WOZO, Haiti Partners Youth Choir.

It’s been wonderful having them with us in Haiti during the last several days. In addition to spending time with Haiti Partners Youth Choir and providing valuable insight as choir prepares to travel to US for the first time, they also met with school principals and teachers in several of our partner schools to explore the possibility of having them return to do a seminar in using music in education.


Allan has played a key role in creation and development of Haiti Partners. One example of his critical role in Haiti Partners work is that following the earthquake, he facilitated the donation from Briggs and Stratton, and delivery of 240 5.5 Kw generators.

Allan and Mary are scheduled to be back in October to do a seminar with school principals and teachers with our partner schools on music in the classroom: How to help children develop the joy of music and how to use music to help children to develop skills in reading, math and in critical thinking.

Haiti Partners is excited about this partnership. Thank you, Allan and Mary!

Click here to view more photos of Allan and Mary meeting with educators in Darbonne and also with Haiti Partners Youth Choir.

With InterVarsity campus ministers in Haiti

July 12, 2011

I (Jonathan) am in Haiti this week with a team of campus ministers from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an interdenominational group serving students and faculty across the nation.  IVCF’s vision is to see students and faculty transformed, campuses renewed, and world changers developed.

At William & Mary, I had the privilege of being a part of this movement, and now, I’m getting to partner with IVCF again here in Haiti!  This team is exploring setting up a Global Urban Trek that gives students a 6 week opportunity to explore international development, social justice, and working with the poor out of a devotion to Christian faith.   Treks have spread out across the globe to Cairo, Kalkota, Manila, Mexico City, and Bangkok, and hundreds of students have gone on to devote their lives to working with the poor.

This week, the team is staying with families in our network out in Darbonne and Cabois.  They’re teaching English, crafts, and music to students and teachers in our schools.   The energy has been incredible, everybody’s having a lot of fun and learning a lot.  Stay tuned for more to come!

Civic Empowerment Open Space Community Meetings Begin

January 28, 2011

This week Open Space meetings were held at Cabois Community School, one of our partners schools, as well as in the community of Nan Chato – both in the Darbonne area.  These community Open Space meetings are a part of our Civic Empowerment Grant project with USAID.  Led by experienced Reflection Circle and Open Space practitioners, participants begin in Reflection Circle groups to cultivate democratic skills and habits, go on to study the Haitian constitution to learn more about their rights and responsibilities as Haitian citizens, and then learn to exercise these new skills and knowledge through community-wide Open Space meetings.

Open Space participants in Cabois meet in small groups and consider topics

In Nan Chato participants meet as a large group as Haiti Partners associate, Élisee Thomas, explains how to use Open Space

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