The students get practical lessons in entrepreneurship
from a business project at the
school in which parents make greeting cards
using paper made from harvested banana
plants and other local natural fibers. Parents
also maintain gardens at the school, using
permaculture techniques to ensure that the
land is productive year round.
Haiti Partners is headquartered in a small
suite of offices on U.S. 1 in central Vero
Beach. Vero Beach is also the home now of
the Engles, who lived in Haiti with their two
children until John was robbed at gunpoint
in Port-au-Prince one afternoon in 2016.
“After that, we had a couple of strange
things: somebody coming to the front gate at
night, motorcycles that were unusual in the
neighborhood. We felt vulnerable, especially
with our young children.”
Now, Daniel, 13, and Leila, 11, attend Gifford
Middle School in Indian River County.
Merline makes frequent trips to Haiti to
attend to duties at the school. She’s also
launched a company that makes hot sauce
using Caribbean Scotch bonnet peppers
grown in Haiti and the Dominican Republic
in order to raise funds for Haiti Partners.
Haiti Partners has always had strong ties
to Vero Beach, receiving generous support
over the years from churches, especially Our >>
HAITI PARTNERS PHOTOS
The program has 24 teachers who instruct 230 children from age 3 through the fifth grade.
Students work on their French studies. All students also study Haitian Creole and English.