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!
May 20, 2013
Last week co-director John Engle flew to Denver, CO to participate in WorldBlu Live 2013. From the WorldBlu website:
WorldBlu LIVE 2013 is the world’s premier gathering on freedom in the workplace. It is designed for individuals and organizations who recognize the power of freedom and democracy as a leading tool for boosting the bottom-line, promoting innovation, attracting top talent and inspiring full engagement.
John was invited both to give a main-stage presentation and to demonstrate the Circles of Change program for participants. What he didn’t know in advance was that he had also been selected by WorldBlu to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at their Night of Honor event last Thursday for his accomplishments and commitment to democratic, freedom-centered practice. In cahoots with our friends at WorldBlu, and with a generous gift of time and talent from our friend and associate, Luke Renner, we created the video below which was aired at the awards ceremony.
What none of us anticipated was the generosity of the DaVita, WD-40 and Woohoo, Inc. companies. DaVita prepared in advance a giant check indicating their contribution of $10,000 as a part of the award. WD-40 CEO, Garry Ridge, quickly committed to matching it and long time friend, Alex Kjerulf, founder of Woohoo, Inc. committed an additional $5,000 to Haiti Partners work.
Haiti Partners is very grateful to WorldBlu for the amazing work they are doing to promote democracy and freedom in workplaces across the globe. We are so thankful to be a part of their inspiring network, which includes extraordinary companies like Davita, WD-40, Woohoo, Zappos, and many others.
And we are so grateful to John for all he does and continues to do each day to help all of us and those we work with to cultivate our potential and reach new heights.
Chapo ba (hats off to you), John!
*To learn more about how Haiti Partners integrates democratic practice in our work, please view the video below.
May 13, 2013
Change in Haiti is a daunting but exciting possibility when you work together. This was the topic during our recent Partners Retreat held in Vero Beach. A Haitian proverb says: Men anpil chay pa lou. “Many hands make the load lighter.”
On April 26-27, over 50 friends of Haiti Partners landed in Vero Beach from across the U.S., Canada, and Haiti to “Connect for Change.” Participants heard short, TED Talk-style presentations from Americans and Haitians. Everyone participated in open discussions. The connection of our social and spiritual lives addressed. There is a lot of collaboration ahead!
With activities on the beach, wonderful food, and great people, the Partners Retreat was informative and fun. Mark your calendars now for the 4th annual Partners Retreat to be held in Vero Beach on April 25-26, 2014. For additional information, contact us at 772-539-8521 or email@example.com.
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April 25, 2013
If you’re familiar with our Organizations program, you know that the centerpiece of it is what we call Circles of Change. Circles of Change is an innovative participatory education program that encourages democratic development and is designed for use in organizations, schools, churches, the workplace, or anywhere a group needs to learn how to work better together. The two key methods used are Reflection Circles (based on Touchstones in the US) and Open Space Technology. Together, they create a Circle of Change: a group of 20-30 participants who meet weekly for 6 months to practice these democratic methods with two qualified Haitian trainers guiding them through the process.
In response to the many particular needs of those we work with, in the last few years we have begun to adapt the program. We have integrated the Haitian constitution into reading lists to support civic education, created the founding documents for a community governance organization, and led groups to identify community priorities and create projects to address them. In the future, we envision creating our own volumes of texts centered around important themes.
Toward this end, from April 11-13 we held a discussion text writing workshop for a number of our most advanced trainers. The workshop was led by our long-time friend and colleague, Dr. Steven Werlin. Steven led the group through the process of identifying the theme their text would focus on, creating questions to help participants engage with it, and finally writing the full text. The group was very engaged with participants writing texts on a variety of relevant subjects including: corporal punishment in the family; environmental protection; the relationship between work and friendship; corruption; etc.
Haiti Partners is grateful to work with this great team and we look forward to seeing where this newest path for the Organizations program leads!Posted in Circles of Change, Haiti Partners, Open Space, ORGANIZATIONS Program, Reflection Circles | No Comments | Email This Post | Print This Post
April 22, 2013
Last January, Haiti Partners began a Circles of Change group in partnership with the Power of Education Foundation school in Martisant, just outside of Port-au-Prince. The group meets each Saturday morning for an hour and a half and is made up of teachers from the Power of Education school, as well as six neighboring schools. The project goal is to both improve collaboration among school staff as well as to introduce participants to student-centered, participatory approaches to education and leadership development.
The group is going well, with regular attendance above what we were aiming for, and strong enthusiasm among participants. The group began January 26th and will continue through late July.
Haiti Partners is excited to be partnering with the Power of Education Foundation on this project and we look forward to seeing the group develop in the coming months!
To learn more about the Circles of Change program, click here.
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April 18, 2013
In a couple previous blog posts (#1, #2), I described an inspiring young girl, Morgan Fisher, who at the tender age of 11 raised funds for our partner, Anonsiyasyon Community School through selling hand-made Valentine’s Day greeting cards and teddy bears, as well as soliciting donations from friends and family.
Well, she didn’t stop there. Together with her sister Madison, the Fisher sisters did it again, raising funds for the school through selling teddy bears both this year and last. This year alone the two raised over $700 for Anonsiyasyon!
Here’s a note from their mom, Sheri, describing what they did:
“…Morgan and Madison just raised another $760 for the Annonciation school! They were invited to sell teddy bears (at Christ Church), which were collected to give to children entering DCFS. The bears were donated by our church rummage department this year, so all of the proceeds were profit, and all of the bears will go to needy children. It was an amazing day of service, and we are thrilled to be able to continue to help the school rebuild.”
On behalf of the kids at Anonsiyasyon Community School, Haiti Partners would like to extend our great appreciation to Morgan and Madison, the whole Fisher family, as well as Christ Church in Winnetka, IL. The work you all have done for the students at Anonsiyasyon is truly amazing. Thank you!
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April 15, 2013
Last Wednesday, April 10th, Haiti Partners convened all of its school leadership teams at a hotel meeting space in Port-au-Prince. This included a total of 19 people: all six partner schools and the Children’s Academy. These meetings are held three times each year, and are a part of our ongoing efforts to improve our work together.
The topics – which were generated by the group – included exciting announcements like Anonsiyasyon Community School opening a preschool section next year and Henri Christophe nearing completion of a new three-classroom building. They also included honest critiques of how we need to improve our work like better communicating activities that aren’t organized by HP and tightening up and becoming more systematic about our financial accounting and reporting. (See meeting notes here.)
Having been a part of this group since we started the partner school model in 2009, something that I found especially pleasing at this meeting is how well the group has learned to work together. When we began, everyone waited for HP to create the agenda and take responsibility for the meetings. Many participants – especially the women in the group – either didn’t speak at all or when they did you could barely hear them. By contrast, other participants – almost invariably men – would unself-consciously dominate the meetings.
Nowadays, the group creates the agenda and manages the meetings collaboratively. Participation is fairly distributed and based on the relative importance of what is being said, not who is saying it. Finally, there is a real sense of mutual respect and appreciation among the group.
A central goal in all of Haiti Partners’ work is to change the paradigm of leadership in Haiti from the traditional command and control model based on subordination, humiliation, and violence, to a collaborative, invitational, democratic model which encourages all participants to explore and express their unique potential. We are thrilled to see such great progress toward this goal with this core group of Schools Program colleagues.
Posted in Annonciation Community School, Bèl Platon Community School, Cabois Community School, Cité Soleil Community School, Haiti Partners, Henri Christophe Community School, IMN Community School, Partner Schools, SCHOOLS Program | No Comments | Email This Post | Print This Post
April 9, 2013
Haiti Partners is honored to be on the 2013 WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces. We draw inspiration from WorldBlu Founder and CEO, Traci Fenton and her team. We share their vision that for the world to be a better place, there needs to be well functioning democratic societies that are able to solve new problems and seize new opportunities.
We believe that there is truth in the common analysis that many of the global problems we’re facing are as a result of political crisis. We see in a country like the US, with over two centuries of experience in democracy that people across party lines are unable to work together effectively for the common good. In places newer to democracy like Haiti, the polarization between sides is even greater.
Haiti Partners joins with others in the WorldBlu network believing that establishing democratic practices in the work place where the average person spends significant time is not only key to a more productive and creative workforce, but that it’s also key to our societies–our countries–becoming more effective at democracy and working together for the common good.
Haiti Partners strives to practice all ten of the principles and we love the evaluation tool that WorldBlu has developed that allows our members of staff to evaluate our organization in general and our leadership in particular. To learn more about democratic workplace principles click here.
Traci from WorldBlu (see photo below) had this to say after her visit with Haiti Partners.
My co-workers and I witnessed first-hand the amazing work of Haiti Partners in helping leaders and educators develop skills in freedom centered leadership and democratic decision-making. We visited in December 2011 and did a seminar with 40 grassroots and organizational Haitian leaders. Haiti Partners co-founder, John Engle, an American who worked in business before he moved to Haiti in 1991, will speak at WorldBlu Live about the challenges in helping an extremely top-down and even dictatorial culture to rethink their approach and opt for more bottom up.
(Traci with Henri Christophe students)
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April 4, 2013
As a result of some very fortuitous connections, Haiti Partners was grateful to receive Haiti Clinic at the Children’s Academy from March 22nd to 24th. They came with 11 volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals. This remarkable group set up shop just outside the school and served over 650 people from the surrounding area with a range of issues including skin infections, arthritis, poor vision, intestinal worms, and other afflictions.
In addition to job creation and education, health care has been a central priority for the community in Baocia expressed repeatedly in our many open meetings. We are thrilled to have connected with Haiti Clinic for this opportunity and hope to continue this partnership into the future!
To read Haiti Clinic’s full post about this visit, click here.Posted in Children's Academy, Haiti Partners, SCHOOLS Program | No Comments | Email This Post | Print This Post
March 29, 2013
We’re saddened to hear of the death of one our dear friends and partners, Allan Klotsche, this past Thursday. It would be hard in this brief space to recount everything that he’s meant to us. His decades of corporate and non-profit experience were an invaluable resource. But even more than that, his wisdom, compassion, and his steady, gentle presence are irreplaceable. He was a pillar of the Vero Beach community, and an incredible partner in helping Haitians change Haiti.
Allan was a key adviser to John and Kent as they started Haiti Partners in 2008-2009. After the earthquake in 2010, he connected us with Briggs & Stratton, making it possible for us to bring 240 of their generators to Haiti, providing power to schools, clinics, and other key facilities during the relief and recovery operations. Along with his wife Mary, he was a strong supporter of the WOZO Youth Choir, and helped provide music and arts education training to teachers at our partner schools. Over the last few years, he visited Haiti numerous times, and was always a welcome presence for our Haitian friends and colleagues.
There’s so much more that could be said (see below for an obituary that remembers more of his selfless life). For now, Allan, from all of us Haiti Partners, you’ll be deeply missed. Be at peace knowing that you’ve impacted so many lives for the better. We know that today you have heard “Well done, good and faithful servant”.
Allan John Klotsche, Sr.
Allan John Klotsche Sr., 73, of Vero Beach, FL, entered into eternal life on March 28, 2013. Allan was born on November 8, 1939 to parents, Dr. J. Martin & Roberta (Roberts) Klotsche.
Allan began his career as an independent insurance agent, which eventually led to the formation of Gollusch, Klotsche & Hiller, a Milwaukee-based agency which he later sold to Willis Corroon. Allan continued his career with Willis Corroon as the director of their Milwaukee operations, and later served as president and chief executive officer of Willis Corroon Minnesota.
Beyond work, Allan was passionate about giving back to others. While living in Milwaukee, Allan was very involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS), where he served on their board and as chairman. Upon retirement and his move to Vero Beach in 1993, Allan continued his devotion to serving others. He was surprised there was no local BBBS chapter, and decided to start one. Allan’s special involvement in the lives of his “Little Brothers” led to the adoption of his son Brandon Phillips Klotsche, as well as weekly mentoring with Brantavius Valliere. Allan also was a faithful servant of Our Savior Lutheran Church and became an ordained Deacon in 2009. After becoming ordained, Allan actively served on the ELCA Florida-Bahamas Synod Council. Through his involvement in the community, Allan also became involved in Haiti Partners, a non-profit focused on helping Haitians change Haiti through education.
Allan is survived by his loving children; son, Allan John (Mary) Klotsche Jr. of Milwaukee, WI, daughter, Wendy (Kevin) Orthober of Cedarburg, WI, son, Brandon Phillips Klotsche of Vero Beach; cherished grandchildren, Allan John Klotsche III, Christopher Klotsche, Kaitlyn Kohler, Kristina Orthober and Jacob Orthober; loving brothers, John Chester Klotsche of Santa Barbara, CA, Charles and Martin Klotsche of Palm Beach, FL.
Memorial services will be held at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1439 6th Avenue, Vero Beach, FL, April 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm, with reception to follow in the church Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Big Brothers Big Sisters – St. Lucie County, Inc.
For more information on condolences and services, click herePosted in Haiti Partners | No Comments | Email This Post | Print This Post
Earlier this month Haiti Partners had a special treat. Through our close partnership with Yunus Social Business we were invited to host the actor/writer/producer Ben Stiller for a couple hours during one of his visits to Haiti. Mr. Stiller co-founded Artists for Haiti which, among other things, supports the development of social business in Haiti. He wanted to visit the future site of the HAJICA poultry business which, in partnership with YSB and four of our partner schools, will be built this year.
The visit went very well. Mr. Stiller arrived in a helicopter directly to the field next to Henri Christophe Community School. I can tell you, this was quite a treat for the neighborhood kids who had come from miles around to see it! We spent about an hour talking with key colleagues about the poultry business and the four partner schools it will fund. We then visited the nearby site where the poultry business is to be located. Finally, we returned where Maestro Alex and the WOZO Choir sang for our visitors. As always, Alex and the choir got the whole neighborhood on their feet!
Haiti Partners is very grateful to Mr. Stiller and Artists for Haiti for visiting this work and for engaging in Haiti. We look forward to a hopeful future visit once HAJICA has been built and is up and running!
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March 25, 2013
Social Entrepreneur Carlos Miranda Levy writes about his experience of meeting a child with great potential upon his recent visit to the Children’s Academy.
Thank you for your visit Carlos and we look forward to staying in touch!
It was a bright and shiny day in the Caribbean and Ayesha commented on the beautiful clouds on the way up to the mountains just outside Port-au-Prince as our bodies took a pounding — or a rough shiatsu massage if you prefer — as John and his Haiti Partners crew brought us to the Children Academy for our Civil Dialogue program of peer conversations among unlikely equals. The landscape and the view could not be more impressive for the two young Middle East women joining us from Iran and the United Arab Emirates as we looked down the endless cement jungle of Port-au-Prince’s 4 million inhabitants disappeared into the Sea while surrounded by a tapestry of green trees. But not even I, coming from neighbouring Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic was prepared for the unexpected discovery yet to make this memorable day even more special.
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The following account was written by Kerline Janvier, Children’s Academy Co-Coordinator, and translated by Erik Dadger in January 2013:
Children’s Academy teacher: Esther
Esther had experience working at another school, which, as is still so common, used traditional methods of memorization, recitation and discipline through corporal punishment. In this setting, students can only do their best to absorb what they can because conditions that facilitate learning do not exist.
At the Children’s Academy there is a different conception of learning. It’s not only books, notebooks, and pencils, but good conditions for learning that count. Esther discovered this new approach to learning at the Children’s Academy, saw how the children are more at ease, and hopes to learn more so as to become an even better teacher.
In this way, at the Children’s Academy we’re not only teaching students to read and write. We are preparing good citizens who will be ready to take responsibility for Haitian society. Haiti craves this like dry soil craves the rain.
Even though Esther is currently pregnant, she insists on missing as few days of class as possible so she can continue to learn the new teaching methods and participate in the development of the students.Posted in Children's Academy, Haiti Partners, SCHOOLS Program | No Comments | Email This Post | Print This Post
March 19, 2013
Sad news received today: Mèt Anténor Camille, the member of the Children’s Academy School Committee who spoke at the Children’s Academy dedication (view blog post), passed away yesterday due to complications from a stroke two weeks ago. I (John Engle) just came from spending time with his wife, daughter, brother and extended family. He was an extraordinary person and dear friend of more than 15 years. In the neighborhood, they talk about “yon mapou ki tonbe” (a mapou, the enormous tree in Haiti, significantly bigger than any other has fallen). It’s interesting that size had nothing to do with his presence, strength and influence. I’m guessing he was about 5’4 and I’d be surprised if he was much over 100 lbs. His wisdom, conviction and joy made him a mapou. We will miss him so very, very much.
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Sara Simeunovic, our guest writer, has been a passionate supporter of Haiti since her first visit 14 years ago. Since then, she’s been to Haiti over a dozen times leading numerous short-term teams. This February, she helped to facilitate a visit from Matthews Methodist Church in North Carolina.
Upon a mountainside, not too far from the thousands of busy lives scurrying about below in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; sits a school known as ADECA (Academie des Enfants et Centre d’Apprentissage/ Children’s Academy and Learning Center). How does one find ADECA? Visibly, you would be able to find small white, wooden arrows on trees with the red letters “ADECA” written on them. If you follow the signs long enough, eventually you will come to a well, turn left and you will find the academy. These are the physical, more concrete markers to help you find your way towards ADECA. However, the best way to get there just might be through the story of ADECA itself; through the lives and names of the ones who make up this precious community.
During the past eight days, I have had the honor of learning more about this community and the work of Haiti Partners; the organization in Haiti which founded this unique academy for children. Through the long-term vision of their lead team, along with collaborative efforts from other key partnerships in Haiti; it became more and more evident over time the circle of lasting change Haiti Partners is creating for this nation. This truth became even more evident to me one morning as I was speaking with the men and women who help care for the school. Our team arrived the morning after the dedication ceremony to help clean up some of the trash which might have been left from the night before. Although we arrived around 9am, to our surprise the entire school and area was clean. A group of eager parents (of school attendees) awoke early the same morning to volunteer to clean up the school. When I asked them about their commitment to their community, one father replied, “A few years ago, I would have never imagined a school such as this would have ever been possible. Now we have this hope and this nice light in our community and I want to take care of it. It is ours and I have to make sure it is looked after.”
Throughout the week, I spoke with many parents as well as school staff whose faces and hearts expressed great pride and gratitude for this new found hope in their community; a hope that I am sure without them having been part of the process might not be the same hope we see in them today. Places to grow and areas to thrive, this was the hope she was wanting to give every student which walked in door at the children’s academy. As we spoke she shared with me about how important every life is, that we must value each child and work together with parents if we are going to have a healthy community. As her and I were speaking, excitement filled her eyes as we stood on the steps of the school, speaking of the children inside and then later pointing to those on the playground.
The road to ADECA is lined with homes and fields, to which belong many new familiar faces and names. Taking some time on a few occasions to walk this path in the afternoons, I would often pass by them. ”Bonjou, kouman ou ye?”, we would greet as we pass by. With a kiss on the cheek and a smile in their eyes, I could not help but consider lives, their stories, their futures and their dreams. How grateful I am to know them, to walk this road to ADECA alongside them.
From where I sit tonight, airplanes, travelers, and terminals are only in view. White arrow signs with red letters, goats, wells, and magnificent landscapes are no where to be found (though I am trying to imagine). Friendly faces, beautiful smiles like those on the way to ADECA, and the chances of anyone in this terminal speaking Creole with myself are very slim. Though the sunlight which leads the way to ADECA seems further away tonight, I am certain even as I am writing its road is still very much alive with hope in the hearts of its people.
Mèsi Bokou (thank you very much) ADECA for sharing yourselves with us.
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