Remembering… John’s first visit to Darbonne after the earthquake. ow.ly/gKb0F
Remembering… John’s first visit to Darbonne after the earthquake. ow.ly/gKaU4
March 6, 2010
David Jones, Senior Partner for Haiti Partners visits Henri Christophe School, which was destroyed by the earthquake and is where Haiti Partners is funding the creation of a Learning Center/Shelter.
Part 1, The destruction
Part 2, Education in a tent now and a Learning Center/Shelter soon
January 30, 2010
Here with friend Maxandre Bien-Aime who is Director at Institution Mixte Nao. Haiti Partners is thrilled to serve as fiscal agent to help facilitate rebuilding of this school and paying teachers to continue to work with their 143 students.
January 25, 2010
Teachers and directors of our partner schools along with other members of community meet to discuss priorities.
I (Kent) was just interviewed on “100 Huntley Street,” a national TV show in Canada. I’m in Toronto for a Haiti Partners event with Tony Campolo on Sunday evening (for details, see www.haitipartners.ca) that was scheduled 6 months ago.
Earlier this the week I traveled to Haiti to work with John, and we spent time in Darbonne, the town where two Haiti Partners schools collapsed and where my wife, Shelly, and I first lived when we moved to Haiti. It was wonderful to finally be with our “adopted family” after the earthquake–though heartbreaking to see their family homes ruined.
Haiti Partners is working hard to help in the Darbonne area. This two-part (20 minutes) video shares the story of getting back to this town after the earthquake.
January 19, 2010
Darbonne/Leogane was the epicenter.
January 18, 2010
We see Haitian determination at Darbonne/Leogane, the earthquake’s epicenter.
July 18, 2014
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 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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
IN THE US
Date: February 2015
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
For more information, contact Deborah Girling (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 (email@example.com).
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.
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.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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!
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 efforts in Darbonne, Haiti. ow.ly/gKbHb
3 years after the earthquake, we look back: John’s 1st report from Darbonne & our partner schools youtu.be/ixBdkCuqdnE