Our Story

Our story is one of building local capacities in rural Haitian communities since 2004, resulting in strong and sustainable local partnerships that are thriving today.

First founded by a small group of international and Haitian yoga practitioners in 1991, AMURT-Haiti considerably expanded its development initiatives to a growing number of rural communities. Initially the programs were led by teams of professional volunteers united by interest in reflecting yoga principles in community development initiatives. Within 5 years our programs built more than 30 village drinking and irrigation water systems, tens of miles of roads, 5 schools, 3 clinics, and hundreds of acres of watershed conservation areas. Following an intense 2-year long child-centered humanitarian intervention responding to the January 2010 earthquake disaster, AMURT decided to narrow its programmatic focus and build local capacities, choosing to develop a specialty in the domains where the greatest needs of children and women and the potential for impact intersect. Since then its staff of 200 mostly Haitian staff is responsible for designing and managing long-term development programs with a focus on innovation in three areas – progressive education, social entrepreneurship, and environmental stewardship.

In 2013 we co-founded InnovEd, an Innovative Education Institute at Haiti’s most prestigious higher education institution, the Universite Quisqueya. For the past 5 years InnovEd has established itself as one of Haiti’s premier institutes offering professional development pathways for educators regardless of their prior qualifications. AMURT continues to support progressive child-centered models in education through partnerships such as this, identifying and building the innovative potentials in educators and institutions throughout Haiti.

In 2013 we helped establish DESPRI, a Haitian organization focused on accompanying innovative development models in the areas of social entrepreneurship, environmental sustainability, and productive value chains. Over the last years DESPRI has become a trusted local implementing partner, with AMURT providing a link to larger institutional funders and programs, and DESPRI serving as the bridge to local communities and vibrant and resilient economic and leadership initiatives. From improving the quality and increasing the sea salt production yields more than ten fold, to helping organize three thousand women in Self Help Group Associations reaching close to half a million USD of self-generated savings and loans, DESPRI has become one of Haiti’s most impactful home-grown rural capacity incubators.

Today, despite Haiti’s considerable natural disasters and socio-political risks, our programs are fully ongoing due to the ground team’s determination to ensure a development model that is sustainable, efficient, and community-driven.