Coming Together for Change

 In Children's Academy, Collaborative Leadership Program, community, General, Quality Schools Program

While we feel a great heaviness with all that’s going on in the U.S. and around the world, we continue to draw hope and inspiration because of all that we’ve been able to accomplish together with you. Even as we struggle with enormous challenges, we believe more than ever that education and community building centered on dialogue, listening and respect are what we need to continue to focus on during this difficult period.

As you are well aware, Haiti is no stranger to tragedy and discord. The months after the 2010 earthquake were an extraordinarily challenging time. The earthquake took over 200,000 lives, displaced over one million people, and decimated the country’s infrastructure. Later the same year, the worst cholera outbreak in a century hit Haiti, taking over 8000 additional lives and sowing fear and distrust throughout an already severely traumatized and impoverished population. To make matters worse, 2010 was an election year. Like elsewhere, election years in Haiti breed uncertainty and are often accompanied by new levels of meanness and even violence. While it was a traumatic, painful, and extremely challenging time, many of us also recognized it as an opportunity for collective learning and healing.

An open community meeting at the Children’s Academy site, March 2011

We determined together that we needed to be more intentional and proactive about building our collective capacity to address and deal with problems. At Haiti Partners, we have always believed in open dialogue and respectful listening, but in 2010 we were not doing it regularly enough at a community wide level. To remedy this, in collaboration with local leaders we organized a monthly open community meeting with an open agenda to build our collective capacity.

There have been open community meetings the second Sunday of the month ever since. In these meetings we collectively developed the vision for the Children’s Academy. The community has also addressed a host of issues ranging from water needs, to political turmoil and appropriate ways to protest, to tree planting, to making the neighborhood cleaner and safer. Every challenge and problem also brings with it an opportunity for learning and growth.

We believe the key to building collective capacity is through respectful dialogue, democratic process and education. Students at the Children’s Academy are growing up attending monthly community meetings and witnessing progress as the community and their school address challenges and opportunities. Whether it’s COVID-19, or the looming food crisis that’s expected as a result of the economic downturn, the community is discovering and growing their collective capacity and teaching their children through example.

Yara with the carrots she grew in the Children’s Academy garden, March 2020

As we wrap up the school year, we’re focusing on supporting our students, their families and our staff to dramatically increase the yield of their home gardens and provide them with greater food security. Our work is all about building the capacity of people to help themselves and to experience the dignity that comes with it.

We invite you to join us in this effort by making a gift so that together we can help Haiti’s students and their families through this especially challenging time. We’re thrilled to share that:

  • Your gift received by June 30 will be matched up to $25,000 thanks to a generous friend and donor, and,
  • 100% of your gift will go to program expenses. Thanks to the generosity of major donors who make up The Circle Fund, Haiti Partners administration and fundraising costs are covered!

In these troubling times we hold fast to our core values – compassion, partnership, respect, learning and accountability – and continue our commitment to providing a quality education to over 1200 students. We hope you’ll partner with us in these efforts by making a gift today.

Thank you for your support. We hope that you stay safe and healthy during these trying times.





John & Merline Engle

P.S. Gifts received by June 30 will be matched up to $25,000. Thank you for helping us finish our fiscal year strong!

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