“A movement only exists when people are inspired to move, to do something, to take up the cause as their own.” – “Yon mouvman sèlman egziste lè moun yo enspire pou avanse, fè yon bagay, konmanse kòz la kòm kòz pa yo.” – Simon Sinek
At Haiti Partners, Simon Sinek is a bit of a favorite. His emphasis on “the why” of what we do and the importance of collaborative, inclusive leadership has inspired our team in the past and still does today. (Special thanks to our generous volunteer, Christine Barnden, for translating this quote to Haitian Creole.)
Two of the pictures here are of one of our most essential colleagues, Jean Reynald Blanc. At the Children’s Academy he is the Parent Coordinator, which involves everything from overseeing parent volunteers to organizing Village Saving and Loans Groups. He’s incredibly hard working and dedicated. And, he happens to have grown up just down the hill from the school. Which means that as he works for change at the Children’s Academy, he also works to change his own community.
Jean Reynald is pictured with a very successful Haitian entrepreneur, Johnson Napoleon. Mr. Napoleon started his career in Haiti at the age of 12 fixing bicycles and since then worked his way up to starting and owning multiple companies, including the first fully accredited Haitian owned college in the US (Azure College in Ft. Lauderdale).
A few weeks ago Mr. Napoleon was in Haiti giving a speech. Three members of our leadership team at the Children’s Academy – Jean Reynald, Junia St Surin Couloute, and Alex Myril – learned about it and all decided to go. In one picture, Jean Reynald poses with Mr. Napoleon as he holds samples of the handmade Haitian paper made at the social business at the Children’s Academy. In another (see below), Alex snaps off a selfie with him and Jean Reynald and Junia (Junia is on the right in black).
Now, this is very much the kind of activity Haiti Partners would like to sponsor our Haitian colleagues to go to. It encourages entrepreneurship, develops leadership, and draws from Haiti’s own deep pool of inspirational figures to do it. But Jean Reynald, Alex and Junia didn’t even give us the chance. They learned about it independently of the organization, got their tickets and just went. And, we were told after, they had an excellent and inspiring time!
To return the the quote above, at Haiti Partners, we want to be a part of a movement to inspire changemakers in Haiti through education, entrepreneurship and collaborative leadership. We’re thrilled to see our Haitian colleagues taking ownership and following their own inspiration to become a part of – if not to create – this movement as well.
Chapo byen ba Jean Reynald, Junia and Alex! (Hats off Junia, Jean Reynald and Alex!)