Heartened by progress at ‘Haiti Partners’ luncheon

A room filled with core supporters of Haiti Partners gathered for their annual Stories of Gratitude luncheon at Costa d’Este last Friday afternoon. Co-founders John Engle and Kent Annan expressed their appreciation and spoke about recent advances and challenges in their quest to “help Haitians change Haiti through education.”

Annan, via video from Chicago, spoke about the Micah scholars, young leaders who work with churches to reunite exploited youngsters living in servitude with their families. Advocates of social justice, Micah scholars also champion women’s rights and environmental issues. “The program has never been stronger and it’s only possible because of you,” said Annan.

“It’s no coincidence that ‘Partners’ is part of our name,” said Engle, who spoke about the growth of the Children’s Academy and Learning Center, which has grown from 30 students six years ago to today’s 216 students; many more students are being educated at partner schools. “We always say to the parents and the members of the community that they are the most important part of it. Without their investment in the vision we wouldn’t have anything.”

It is not just children who benefit from their life-long-learning approach said Engle, noting, “Part of the vision is the school is helping to care for the community. The school can reach people that a lot of times the churches cannot.”

Haiti Partners promotes innovation in ways that get the entire community involved, through social businesses and entrepreneurships such as a hand-made paper enterprise, poultry farms, community garden, boutique grocery, construction training and village savings and loan groups.

Haiti Partners will host its annual Educate and Celebrate fundraiser March 8 at Grand Harbor Golf Club, featuring food and wine pairings, Haitian crafts and artwork. For more information, visit haitipartners.org.     

Photos by: Mary Schenkel
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