Meet the Makers: Summer 2018

The Summer Maker's Box is one to behold - beadwork and aluminum casting artisans bring you the best of their workshops, and you get to learn more about their lives, in turn. By ordering your Maker's Box, you lean into the connection that we all have with the makers of every product we buy, and step closer into the Haiti Design Collective family. 

Meet Maggie: Beadwork

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My name is Maggie Joseph and I started working with HDC when we began the VAK branch in O Cap. Before getting this job, I was always in a situation where I was constantly obligated to take out loans, but since having a steady job with VAK, I have never had to borrow money- which is very empowering. I would love that our customers know and realize what a difference they are truly making. There are so many women in my neighborhood that watch me go to work every day, and they often come to the workshop looking for a job. Every product our customers have purchased have given so many people steady jobs that help support their families, and every product they will buy in the future will give even more steady jobs. I want to see VAK grow and make progress, and I want to help my children to receive a good education so that they can go far in life. I’m very proud of the work I do at VAK, and am proud of the way our team collaborates together. 

 

What is your favorite……

- Haitian proverb: Yon sel dwet pa manje kalalou: You can’t eat okra with only one finger

-Haitian artist: worship artist- Libenson

-Haitian food: Plantains with beef

-Place to visit in Haiti: Port-au-Prince


Didier Fernand: Aluminum Casting

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I’m Didier. I am 31 years old and am from the city of Port-au-Prince. I am a Christian and am the oldest in my family, so a lot of responsibility rests on my shoulders. I have been an Artisan for three years. I grew up in the same neighborhood as my team manager and he taught me everything I know when it comes to creating pieces out of aluminum. I love creating our aluminum animals and bangles, and I enjoy stamping and creating different patterns in our products. I have come to feel really comfortable doing this kind of work. My team interacts like a family does. We are always joking around, encouraging each other, and making sure to keep lifting one another up when someone is feeling down. I’m really thankful that my team is a dynamic one that is continually enthusiastic about what we are creating, and is always there to help the next person out when needed. As a Haitian, I am so proud of the history of my country and of how we started a revolution to gain our independence. I feel so proud when someone purchases our products and sees that there a lot of beautiful things that come from Haiti.

 

What is your favorite……

- Haitian proverb: Kabrit ki gen twop met mouri nan soley (A goat with too many masters dies in the sun)

-Haitian artist: Ritchi

-Haitian food: Rice with bean sauce and Haitian vegetables

-Place to visit in Haiti: Jacmel

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Artisan Highlight: Yvrose

We are partnering with Pure Charity in this year's She is Priceless campaign, raising support for our Wellness & Educational programs at Haiti Design Co

Every dollar that you give will go directly towards providing a daily nutritious meal, monthly educational seminars, quality health insurance, micro-business & personal mentorship, and support our artisan savings program.  

Your support will help our artisan communities to not only survive, but to thrive. 


Yvrose, Sewing Team

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A staff member that has been deeply impacted by the holistic employment and education of HDC is Yvrose, of our Sewing Team. This is a snapshot of her story:

“The programs that Haiti Design Co offers me as an employee have helped me in so many ways, and I am very thankful for them in my life. This past year I was living in government housing and out of nowhere they came to evict me. I had been working on building my own house in a different area, but I still had a lot to do in order to be able to move in. Thankfully, Haiti Design Co had started a program called Saving for Tomorrow before this problem arose and I was able to save up enough money through this savings program in order to finish my house quickly to move in once I was evicted.

I am also thankful for the health insurance provided through Haiti Design Co. I went to see a doctor because I was in a lot of pain, my back was hurting me constantly. When I was younger I worked in a factory, and the work I did there really took a toll on my back. The insurance that Haiti Design Co provides pays for 80% of hospital care and medicine. This is amazing because there is no way I would have the total cost in order to see a doctor in those needed times. The doctor was able to help me and give me good advice of how to deal with my back pain when I’m working.

The programs that Haiti Design Co offers me as an employee have helped me in so many ways, and I am very thankful for them in my life.
— Yvrose, HDC Sewing Team

Haiti Design Co provides a meal for us to eat every day, and this isn’t only great for me, but for the entire team of ladies I work with every day. I have to leave very early to get to work on time because of transportation and city traffic. I don’t have enough time to make a meal. Even if I begin preparing something, someone in my family would need to eat it and I would have to wait until I get home in the evening to eat. Without this meal, I would be eating some crackers or a cup of coffee to get through the day.

I try to attend all of the trainings and seminars that Haiti Design Co offers. My favorite by far was the business training I attended last month. I learned so many things, and the session was packed with helpful information. When I am finished with the projects remaining on my house, I want to focus on starting a side business. The training really motivated me.”

Social Programs Report: Business Seminar

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This month, we held a seminar for micro-business and entrepreneurship, and our goal was to train our employees on how to manage a business well. We have many employees who have their own side businesses and others who are interested in starting their own business. We wanted to focus the training on how to manage a business in order for it to grow and flourish, how to make a profit in the correct way, and how to manage personal expenses and business expenses separately. Our hope for this training was to motivate people to start their own businesses to further support their families and to grow the local economy, and to offer helpful skills and knowledge for people to grow their own business.

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Every participant that I spoke with following the training had nothing but great things to say about the training. Many of our employees were so inspired and motivated to start their own business and apply everything they learned, and those that are already managing their own business spoke of the many things they learned and how they would change the way they manage their businesses in order to run them more effectively. In fact, every participant said yes to doing the second half of this training

From here, we will follow up by having each participant make specific goals after the training to see if the apply what they learned in their businesses, and to see if it is worth continuing to offer business training like this one.


 

“This training has given me a lot of motivation for my business, along with different strategies I can take to improve and grow. I learned how essential it is to reflect on my community’s needs in starting a business and not to simply create a business for my own needs.”
— Fedras


About the Author

Courtney Sanon lives in Port au Prince, Haiti with her husband Jimmy and their two adorable dogs. Courtney is the Social Programs Coordinator at Haiti Design Co. and is also the founder and director of Ansanm Haiti, which supports family preservation and community development in rural areas of Haiti. 

HDC in Action

Haiti Design Co is passionate about providing quality employment for our workers, which also means that we strive to help them lead quality lives.

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We try to provide an educational opportunity for our workers each month, so that they can receive training to be motivated to apply some helpful skill to their lives. We also think it’s important to provide them with fun activities, as the more time I spend with our Haitian friends, the more I hear them talking about how so many problems exist in Haiti (unplanned pregnancy, violence, etc.) simply because there are very little outlets for people to have fun and spend time doing something good and constructive.
But we don’t want all of these opportunities to stop with our workers. We want our workers to go back to their neighborhoods and talk about what they are participating in. We want our employees to introduce kids in their communities to healthy ways of spending their free time.

 

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Earlier this month, a team from Haiti Design Co. decided to take a trip to an elderly care home. As soon as I stepped into the home, my thoughts began wandering back to years before when I was serving in a few orphanages here in Haiti. At a first glance, it seemed so open- seeing the yard and trees, but of course the first glance never ceases to deceive, and the sunlight doesn’t ever seem to last longer than those first moments.

Our HDC in Action team immediately did what their name asks of them - they jumped into action. Before I could even soak up the realities of what my eyes were seeing, our female workers, who normally spend this day making HDC jewelry or sewing bags, were now bathing elderly women in wheelchairs with the utmost tenderness. Our leather team, who would normally be sanding, beveling, and sewing bags, were now giving haircuts, making people smile with their jokes, and were hauling water from the well.

There were no hesitations, no complaints. I was serving right beside them, but couldn’t help staring at our team. I watched them the whole day, as they loved and served, and put their whole selves into what they were doing. I couldn’t help but feel this amazing pride sweep over me at how they were so selflessly giving themselves, and honestly I was blown away.

I honestly don’t know a lot of people who could handle that kind of experience- both foreigners and Haitians alike. In the few hours we were there, we had managed to see firsthand the kind of abuse, neglect, and wrongdoing that usually takes months or years to discover elsewhere.

When we got in our taptap to head back to the workshop, all of their voices broke out at once. They mourned over the sick and hurt. They ranted over the newly discovered injustices they had just seen with their own eyes. They laughed in joy over the relationships they had made. It was as if all of a sudden, this new kind of passion was bubbling up in them all at once.

They are already planning what they can do next - how they can make a difference
— Courtney Sanon


Afterwards, Wideline, on our jewelry team told me, “I learned a lot about the kind of mistreatment and poverty that exists in those places, and learned how important is it for us to continue serving our community, and to keep giving more. I know God is always with me, but He was with me in a different way that day. He gave me strength to lift those from their wheelchairs and bathe them.”

“When I was helping an older woman bathe, she was telling me that her family doesn’t ever come to see her, and was overjoyed that our group from Haiti Design came to see her. I felt like God was right there with me at that moment.”- Cassan

All of them were so overjoyed to have made some connections with people, and to have had the chance to serve. But even more so, the injustices and wrong things that they had seen stuck with them. They began to talk about the sick they met who should normally be just fine, they talked about the supplies not being distributed but disappearing instead. They mourned over the abuse, and were angry about the reality of the kind of suffering that exists in these kinds of places.

When you see things with your eyes, meet those who suffer at the hands of others, experience the reality that is happening right around you, it changes you. You become different. You can’t just forget.

I already see this happening with our team. They are already planning what they can do next, how they can make a difference. And now that they are aware of what’s happening, I hope that this generation can prevent the mistakes made by the generation before them.


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About the Author

 

Courtney Sanon lives in Port au Prince, Haiti with her husband Jimmy and their two adorable dogs. Courtney is the Social Programs Coordinator at Haiti Design Co. and is also the founder and director of Ansanm Haiti, which supports family preservation and community development in rural areas of Haiti. 

 

 

 

Meet the Makers: Spring 2018

 
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The first of the Maker's Box 2018 lineup, The Spring Box, brings not only handcrafted goods from our Metalworking and Woodworking teams' studios in Haiti, but stories about the makers' lives. By ordering your Maker's Box, you lean into the connection that we all have with the makers of every product we buy, and step closer into the Haiti Design Collective family. 


Meet the Makers:

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Louissaint Silfran
Woodworking

I have been crafting with wood since 1977. I have always loved art, and so from a young age I began to learn how to work with wood. Being from Jacmel, one of the things I most love about Haiti is the atmosphere you experience when Haitians come together to celebrate, and all of the creative art that is presented during these celebrations. I really want those who purchase our products to recognize our work for our creativity, style, and quality. I am very proud of what we create and of each style we design. I never sell anything that I don’t personally like and am not proud of.  I want our customers to see that we are experienced in our art and can clearly see that in our products. My team works really well together, and I really appreciate the way that they respect me. As the leader of our team, I want to continue moving forward, to grow, and to lead my team well.

 

 

What is your favorite:


- Haitian proverb: Yon sel dwet pa manje kalalou (You can’t eat okra with only one finger)
-Haitian artist: Roody Roodboy
-Haitian food:
Breadfruit with plantains, and millet
-Place to visit in Haiti: Bassin Bleu and Citadel
-Activity outside of work: Gardening
-Describe yourself in 3 words:
relaxed, easy-going, loves people

 

Franklin Saint Jean
Metalwork  

How did you learn this type of work? How long have you been doing it?
While I was doing odds and ends for Josh when I was younger, I always really desired to learn . When I was hired to come onto Ekip Solid, my manager taught me everything.

What is your team like? What is the team spirit and environment like? 
My team really believes in what we are doing. We refuse to be discouraged, and whenever a problem arises, we always choose to search for a solution instead of letting ourselves by overwhelmed by it.

What is your favorite thing about Haiti?Besides the wonderful breeze, Haiti has many great things. My favorite thing about my nation is that Haitians are very proud of their heritage and aren’t afraid of hard work. Haiti is full of creativity and imagination, I want everyone to know about the wonderful products that are designed and made here in Haiti.

 

 

Fun Facts:

JOINED HDC: 2016
TEAM MEMBERS: 20
FAVORITE PRODUCT: Snowflake ornaments
FAVORITE HAITIAN FOOD: 
Rice and beans with Haitian vegetables
FAVORITE PLACE IN HAITI: Delmas
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN 3 WORDS:
Chill, helpful, polite
FAVORITE HAITIAN ARTIST: BIC

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The Results are in... 2017 Impact Report

Tracking impact is an important part of what we do at HDC. By understanding our growth, not only by numbers, but by attitudes, confidence, empowerment, and motivation, we understand the true impact of our Education and Wellness Programs.

The best stories come from it, too. 

With the money saved up from our finance program, Save for Tomorrow, Lidel was able to save enough money to buy a motorcycle. He now has his own form of transportation to get to work, but uses this motorcycle to make money on the side as a taxi driver - which he says has been amazing for him. 

In addition to trainings about personal finances, 2017 brought classes about nutrition, positive thinking, community gardening, and family planning.

See more of the impact last year has brought below:

2017 Impact Report

But the goodness doesn't stop here.
We will continue to see growth and flourishing in 2018, thanks to our HDC family and advocates.

Take part, and support our Education + Wellness Programs to see the goodness continue:


Collective: A New Meaning for "Co."

Col•lec•tive - [kuh-lek-tiv]: actions, situations, or feelings involved by every member of a group of people, forming a whole.

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We are more than a manufacturer.
 
Above beautiful products, we craft and cultivate relationships, and we believe that it is this connection that builds leaders, builds teams, builds trust, and changes communities.

Our new name, Haiti Design Collective, is a celebration of our spirit of connectivity and commitment to our HDC family - because that is truly what we are, a family. And when you get involved, purchase products, and support our vision, you become family, too.

Experience more about what we mean in the video below. 
(grab some tissues - you may need them)

Fashion Revolution Week 2017

We are in the midst of Fashion Revolution Week - a time set apart for creators and consumers to join together and use their voices to call for greater transparency, sustainability, and ethics in the fashion industry. Each year, this week begins on April 24th, the same day as the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh where 1,134 people lost their lives.

The reality is that today's fashion industry says abuse of people and abuse of environment is okay because the demand for transparency on the other side of the label is too quiet to be heard in comparison to the demand for fast + cheap. Searching for cost savings is not a bad thing; it can be a burdensome undertaking to clothe and support ourselves and our families. The "bad" comes when the cost of savings comes at the cost of another's ability to survive and to be free. We believe that is too high a cost to pay. 

We began Haiti Design Co because we believe in the beauty and dignity that exist in an honorable business transaction. The consumer's necessity to clothe themselves with goods they love and the creator's passion to make new, beautiful things should be an opportunity that connects us, not a reality that divides us. And while there is much work to be done to move the needle, there is also so much hope for the future. Evidence can be found in the growth surrounding the conversation of ethical fashion: lives lost are becoming lives honored as a rising number of conscious consumers and conscious brands dedicate themselves to business that brings life and meaning. 

We are so excited to participate in the movement this week by highlighting the teams behind our products and the ethical fashion partners that support those teams. Our desire is to add light and hope to the fashion industry. Below are some photo from this week's campaign.  

You can continue to follow along this week on our Instagram and at Fashion Revolution's Instagram. And we invite you to join the movement by posting a photo of your favorite brand's label with the question #whomademyclothes? 

Mesi zanmi for your consistent love & support ❤️  Men anpil chay pa lou - many hands make the load light. 

 Check out this insightful post from Anuschka Rees about 5 Ways to Build a More Ethical Closet! ( read here ) First and foremost, take care of what you already have. And if you do buy, buy pieces you truly love and from brands you respect. Building an ethical closet is something you can begin today.

Check out this insightful post from Anuschka Rees about 5 Ways to Build a More Ethical Closet! (read here) First and foremost, take care of what you already have. And if you do buy, buy pieces you truly love and from brands you respect. Building an ethical closet is something you can begin today.

Haiti Highlight: Jacmel

Our sweet Caribbean island is home to diverse landscapes and rich beauty, and while we love that our work and home life is centered in the vibrant city of Port au Prince, there is nothing else like a quick beach getaway. That's where the lovely Jacmel comes in.

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Located in the Southern part of the island, Jacmel is an old port town originally founded by the Spanish, but repopulated by the French. The French influence is heavy, but most heavily seen in the grand colonial architecture. There are buildings centuries old complete with large pillars, wrought-iron gates, spiral staircases, and intricate designs tiled across the floor.

The colors are just as rich as the history with pops of blues and greens spread across the town. The photo below is from the iconic Hotel Florita, known for its classic gingerbread style architecture and delicious rhum sours. 

Beyond its beautiful beaches and preserved architecture, Jacmel has a vibrant arts scene and serves as one of Haiti's most culturally-rich hubs for handmade goods. This especially come to life every year in Carnival season. In February, our team not only got to experience the colorful parade, but we were also able to visit some of our partner artisans, our woodworking team! Boss Jonas and his team live in the mountains and craft beautiful wood pieces completely by hand. 

Lastly, Jacmel is home to Bassin Bleu, a series of 3 deep natural pools tucked away in the mountains. Accessible only by a guided hike through lush mountain greens, the pools are a deep, mesmerizing teal. You can spend the afternoon jumping, diving, and swimming with the mermaids. 

Oh and did we mention the sunsets?

Bonjour, Andre!

Meet Andre, one of the featured artisans in the SPRING 2017 Maker's Box! At HDC, we train and employ artisans with the skills and resources they need to be successful both professionally and personally. We work as a collective of artisans - with 3 in-house teams and 4 partner teams from the community that work as part of our Artisan Incubator Program. Andre was one of our first partner artisans, and in terms of our HDC family mentality, we like to think of him as our wise father figure who has a rich depth of knowledge and expertise to share with us in our efforts to create quality work, quality goods, and quality relationships.

As a highly valued member of our HDC family, we want to take a moment to share Andre's story with you!

Andre has been crafting ethically-gathered horn and bone for over 34 years. He runs an artisan cooperative in Port au Prince that trains and employs over 30 men from the community. He is originally from Jacmel, a beautiful beach town a few hours south of the city, but moved with his uncle at the age of 14. His uncle had been working with horn and bone for years when he taught Andre the craft. Andre was quick to pick it up and began expanding on the skills his uncle taught him in his hours between school. Over time, he grew to have his own business and line of products.

However, the earthquake in 2011 destroyed his original shop. With some support, he was able to build a new shop that has since grown to be a large artisan cooperative where Andre and his team create products for retailers to sell across the world.

One of the most inspiring and humbling things about Andre is his heart to empower others. He is community-minded and views his knowledge and his workshop as something beyond just himself. He is passionate about training a new generation of leaders with the skills they need to be independent entrepreneurs, claiming that his space is "a place for all the people." Their work is a beautiful showcase of the talents and designs inherent to the people of Haiti, and they seek to use their products to elevate this beautiful island in the minds and hearts of people around the globe. A few of the products we work with Andre to create are the much loved horn bangles + hoops, demi circle + drop pendant necklaces, and the horn bowls + dishes. 

Andre is featured in this season's Maker's Box alongside our in-house leather team. You can learn more about him and the leather team, as well as receive a thoughtfully curated collection of their products in the SPRING 2017 MAKER'S BOX (order deadline for spring is April 1st). Boxes are available for individual purchase or year-long subscriptions. Each season, we will release a new box highlighting our different in-house and partner artisan teams, giving you a meaningful look into the process, people, and products behind each unique craft!

Bon Kanaval!

We are in the midst of Carnival season here in Haiti! A festive time leading up to Mardi Gras, Carnival is when bands release new music and the streets are filled with colorful costumes, paper mache masks, food vendors, and big parades. 

Another tradition unique to Haiti is a celebration called "Rara." Rara features bands of people dressed as costumed characters playing a variety of home-made instruments. You can see these celebrations lining the streets in Port-au-Prince as well as in surrounding cities throughout the country. 

Overall, Carnival is a joyous time of celebration where people band together to enjoy music, food, and playful performances satirizing the current political environment. Haiti is home to one of the largest Carnival seasons in the Caribbean and North and South America, making it a popular time for travelers to visit and join in the festivities! 

Thoughts from our Founder with Women@Forbes

Recently I had the chance to share some of my honest thoughts on the orphan cycle in Haiti, the importance of ethical fashion, and our vision at Haiti Design Co with the lovely Anushay Hossain at Forbes. Anushay focuses on women entrepreneurs starting social business for good through the platform "Women@Forbes".  I believe we all have purchasing power that can be used for good, and a voice to speak up about what real help and sustainable development can look like. I'm so honored I was able to share a bit of my perspective on these issues through what we have seen first hand on a daily basis in Haiti. Please click on the link below to check out the article and let us know your thoughts.

With love from Haiti,

-Chandler

"Their Well-Being Is Our Well-Being"

Our hearts have been very heavy with the tragedy happening in the southern regions of Haiti after Hurricane Matthew stormed through. With the support of your donations and donations from our local Haitian community, Fabienne Deplat, our Director of Operations, and members from her church were able to go to the Les Cayes area of Haiti and provide a distribution of necessity kits. This is Fabienne's personal account of her trip. 

 Fabienne preparing supplies for the trip

Fabienne preparing supplies for the trip

I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to go help in the city of Les Cayes, specifically in a place called Saint Jean. I tried to prepare my heart and mind ahead of time, I knew the trip would not be easy.
After several days of preparation, a team from my church and I left Port au Prince.  We sat for 3 hours in heavy rain. After several more hours of waiting in a traffic jam, we took the highway. We were warned ahead of time of the robbery that was happening to large trucks headed to the south full of supplies. It was dark and late, but contrary to what was said, or by the grace of God, no one attacked the car. We safely arrived in the space we were to sleep and had to unload the truck to safely store the supplies away. People in the area already suspected that we had come to help and had supplies with us. We settled in, ate some food, and began preparing the kits for the children first. We finished our preparation that night around 1 am. 
 Bags of rice separated for the necessity kits 

Bags of rice separated for the necessity kits 

 Little girls from the church helping the team load everything up 

Little girls from the church helping the team load everything up 

We awoke very early the next morning, eagerly ready to begin the day and achieve our goal. After several calls and waiting, another truck arrived with policemen to accompany us on the journey to Saint Jean.
On the road we began to see the extent of damage. Almost all of the trees were destroyed and the ones remaining were bare. The schools and churches were left roofless, and there were almost no houses to be seen. After over an hour drive we arrived to Saint Jean to begin the distribution. 
 A church along the road that lost its roof 

A church along the road that lost its roof 

Our team had prepared 250 small voucher cards. Our plan was to distribute the voucher cards to people first and they would then take the voucher to the location to pick up the necessity kits. Unfortunately there was a large crowd waiting already. We decided for our safety to go to the police station to have police assist us in distributing the vouchers. With the large volume of people in the crowd, we decided we must prioritize pregnant women, the elderly, and then women with children.  
It was so hard for me to see so many hands extended out asking me for the card. I had to decide so quickly who I would give the cards to. 
 The crowd waiting for voucher cards 

The crowd waiting for voucher cards 

Then distribution begin. We immediately saw the packages would not be enough, there were too many people. So we started dividing the packages into two to be able to reach more people. 

 Distribution from the truck 

Distribution from the truck 

The day was long and tiring, but the fact of seeing so many people just like me in such misery was even harder. I do not know what tomorrow will bring for them, because all their resources are destroyed, banana trees and coconut trees. Food kits and bags of water will not come every day and will eventually run out.
 The team separating the bags to create more kits 

The team separating the bags to create more kits 

 Clothing donated from the church community 

Clothing donated from the church community 

I left the Saint Jean community with a troubled heart. As we were driving away it was still raining on these people, people who had just lost everything. What will these people do once the distribution stops? Maybe come to Port au Prince, but the misery here is already hard.
For me the experience was good, but my heart is heavy thinking of the future, their future. I strongly encourage Haitian residents of areas that were not affected to contribute what they can to these people. We can collect what we have, we can plant trees, we can help them stand again because their well-being, is our well-being.
I encourage our friends abroad to continue supporting organizations on-ground that are bringing relief. I encourage our customers to keep purchasing from Haiti because when you buy from Haiti you’re supporting us. Purchasing from Haiti allows those with jobs to be able to send money and help to their family and friends that are suffering in the south. Your purchases from Haiti allow us to support one another.
Finally I must say that I am grateful because in my lifetime 2 natural disasters have hit my country. I tell God thank you  that they have not hit me directly. It is also motivates me to go and see these people. I want to thank all of those who contributed in one way or another allowing us to go and help.  Thank you to those abroad that contributed money for us to buy what was needed. Thank you to my church community for giving money, clothes, and food. And thank you to those who pray for us and members of our team to stay strong and determined.
 The team of volunteers that facilitated the distribution 

The team of volunteers that facilitated the distribution 

The road of relief, rebuilding, and recovery is a long and complicated one. We thank you for standing with us and our Haitian community during this time of suffering for many! At Haiti Design Co we have decided to support families suffering in three main areas-

Please click on the photo above to learn more and donate to area of your choice. And for our Haitian community, kenbe fèm! Nap kanpe ak ou!


Je remercie le Seigneur de m’avoir donné la possibilité d’aller faire  une distribution dans la ville des Cayes, plus précisément dans une localité appelée Saint Jean du Sud. Après plusieurs jours de préparatifs, une équipe de mon eglise et moi ont laissé Port- au - Prince a 3 Heures de l'après midi, sous une forte pluie. Après plusieurs heures d’attentes dans une embouteillage, on a pris la route nationale. Contrairement à ce que l’on  disait, ou je dois dire merci a  Dieu, personne n’a attaqué la voiture, bien qu’il était déjà très tard.  On est arrivé dans l'espace on l’on devait dormir a 9hrs du soir.

Et la il fallait décharger le camion et mettre tous les paquets en sécurité parce que déjà les gens de la zone suspectait qu’on apportait de l’aide. Apres le debarquement , tout le monde a ete prendre un bain, manger et finalement faire des petits paquets pour les enfants. Le lendemain très tôt on s’est réveillé, prêt à atteindre notre objectif. Après plusieurs appels, finalement un autre camion est venu accompagné de quelques policiers et la encore on devait embarque ce camion et prendre la route pour la destination de Saint Jean.Sur la route on allait commencer à constater l’ampleur des dégâts, il y a presque pas d’arbres au du moins ce qui en restait n’avait pas de fleurs ou de branches. Les écoles, les églises sans toiture, il y avait presque pas de maisons. Après une heure de route on est arrivé à Saint Jean pour la faire la distribution. Notre équipe avait préparé des cartes pour  250 personnes mais malheureusement c’etait une foule qui nous attendait pas 250 personnes. Après un temps nous avons décidé d’aller remettre les cartes au commissariat accompagné de policiers bien entendu. Vu l'immensité de la foule, on a priorisé les femmes enceintes, les vieillards et les femmes. C'était très dure de voir tous ses mains allongé devant moi  et décider dans un peu de temps a qui donner la carte. Puis on  a commence la distribution, evidemment on a du diviser les paquets en deux pour pouvoir donner a un maximun de personnes. Cette journée a été longue , et fatigante mais le fait de voir des gens  comme moi dans une telle misère était encore plus dure. Je ne sais ce que demain sera fait pour eux, parce que toutes leurs ressources sont détruites, les bananiers les cocotiers. Les kits alimentaires et les sachets d’eau ne viendront pas tous les jours et vont être cesse sou peu.J’ai laissé la communauté de Saint Jean avec le coeur en peine , parce qu’il pleuvait encore….

Que vont faire ces gens quand il plus de distribution, venir à Port au Prince peut être venir a Port -au Prince où il y a déjà de la misere. Pour moi l'expérience a été bonne mais mon coeur est lourd en pensant à l’avenir, à leur avenir. J’encourage les habitants des zones qui ne sont pas touchés a contribué à leur niveau, nous pouvons collecter ce que nous avons, nous pouvons planter des arbres, nous pouvons les aider à relever, parce que leur bien être , est aussi notre bien être.


Pour terminer je dois dire que je suis reconnaissante parce que de mon vivant 2 catastrophes naturels ont touché mon pays et Dieu merci j’ai pas été atteint directement. C’est qui m’a motivé d'ailleurs d’aller voir ces gens. Je tiens à remercier  tout ceux qui ont  contribué d’une manière ou d’une autre pour cette visite soit en donnant de l’argent, des habits, de la nourriture , ceux qui ont pries pour nous, et les membres de notre équipe se sont montrés forts et déterminés.   

Support Recovery, Choose Haitian Made

As many of you know, the damage from Hurricane Matthew has been devastating for many communities in the southern region of Haiti. Relief efforts are underway and many wonderful organizations are working hard to prevent the spread of cholera, alleviate hunger, and provide clean water and shelter during this time. The road to recovery is going to be a long one. At this time we feel it is vital to remember to give with discretion and think of the long term impact we will have on communities. The Haitian economy is going to be one of the biggest keys to supporting recovery. When you invest in job creation, you're investing in opportunity for people and families to provide for themselves. Job creation provides stability. Stability for families means savings, education, health care, and the opportunity to be prepared for the future. 

This holiday season millions of dollars will be spent on gifts for family and friends. We urge you to use your purchasing power to support the Haitian economy by buying Haitian made products. This will directly impact businesses and families in Haiti.

Plus, Haiti produces some of the most beautiful and unique artisan made products in the world.

Here are a few of our favorite 100% Haitian made brands...

  1. FAIT LA FORCE

1. FAIT LA FORCE

     2. 2nd STORY GOODS

 

2. 2nd STORY GOODS

  3. HAITI'S JEWELS

3. HAITI'S JEWELS

  5. PASCALE THEARD CREATIONS

5. PASCALE THEARD CREATIONS

  4. DEUX MAINS

4. DEUX MAINS

  6. PAPILLON ENTERPRISE

6. PAPILLON ENTERPRISE

We also love....

Atelier Calla    .    Sa Voix    .   PeaceCYLCE    .     Artisan Business Network    .    Ayiti Natives

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to Haiti!

Much love,

-the HDC team

 

Hurricane Matthew Aftermath

Most of you have heard news and reports of Hurricane Matthew, which poured over the Caribbean this week and is currently headed up the east coast. The city where Haiti Design Co-op is located, Port-au-Prince, was generally spared from the damages of the wind and rain, but the southern part of our precious island was not as fortunate.

The full extent of the damage is not yet clear, but it is clear that there has been agricultural devastation, catastrophic property damage, as well as loss of life throughout the southern region of Haiti. There are many in the southern peninsula that have lost investments that they had poured time and money into such as gardens and livestock. These are effects that might not be the first thing to cross our minds, but have a long lasting impact on the people in the region. For many they have lost their means of feeding their families or making any money at all. Along side these losses, Haiti, which is no stranger to Cholera and other waterborne diseases, is now at risk for a resurgence of illnesses again as flood waters have contaminated water sources, and many do not have the means or access to clean drinking water. These problems alone, the loss of gardens, and restricted access to safe water, could potentially be more devastating for Haiti than the initial impact of the storm. 

To make things worse, much of the structural damage incurred from the storm includes bridges and roadways to the main cities in need in the southern region. This has put a large damper on immediate disaster response efforts as first responders are relying on mostly aviation organizations to bring supplies and manpower to the affected areas. There are some great organizations doing this work- Mission Aviation Fellowship, Missionary Flights International, and Hero Dispatch to name a few- but large-scale aid influx has the potential to be bottlenecked until road conditions improve. 

When approaching relief efforts, we need to be very cognizant of how to prevent more loss in the wake of disaster. Starvation, cholera, and other waterborne disease are real and imminent threats in the aftermath of a natural disaster here in Haiti that need to be addressed promptly

  Bridge collapse over a flooded river and property damage in Port Salut  .     Photo by Michael Broyles of M.A.F.

Bridge collapse over a flooded river and property damage in Port Salut.   Photo by Michael Broyles of M.A.F.

It is vital that relief and aid efforts do not further damage the local Haitian economy. Our in-house development committee, HDC in Action, has been working to assess the needs of those within our workshop & their families. In order to support local economy during this tragic time, we will be putting together necessity boxes for those impacted most with items purchased from the local market, as well as fundraising for rebuilding efforts for specific families we know suffered the loss of their homes during the storm. There are some areas where we are still waiting for more information on the full extent of the damage, but we do know the death toll has been steadily rising each day. We are doing our best to support our employees and their families during this time, and also wisely invest donations in ways that we believe provide immediate relief, but will be beneficial for the families in the long run. If you would like to join us in supporting the families of our employees that were impacted from this tragic storm, you can donate here-

Donate

We are so thankful for the support we’ve received for one of our valued team members, Manno and his family so far! We are overjoyed that we will be able to contribute to rebuilding a home for his family! Additionally, there are thousands more people in identical situations as his. There is much work to be done. We wanted to take the opportunity to direct you to people and organizations who are based in Haiti and currently working on relief efforts in the South. These people know how to administer aid respectfully, they know the language, and do their best to support Haiti in the face of disaster.

Haiti One- This organization is delivering supplies to organizations for distribution in Les Cayes (one of the cities hit hardest).
Mission Aviation Fellowship- MAF is one of the few organization that is able to reach many areas in the South because of bridge destruction. There are a few small airports open in the area, where MAF is able to bring in supplies. They have started to bring in medical teams and other relief support as well.

Thank you so much for loving Haiti with us and standing alongside us during this time.

With gratitude,

-The HDC team

 

 

Haitian Dominoes

Dekabès!

a Haitian Creole expression meaning a double win in dominoes or the lottery

Pèdi // Chen

When you lose in Haitian dominoes you must put clothes pins on your face or arms for the remainder of the game. As a joke, you also are called "Chen", meaning "dog" for the rest of the game. Number of clothes pin is decided ahead of time by everyone playing. If you do not have clothes pins, you can also hold a small tree branch in your mouth or hold a cinder block. 

All Photography is from the talented (and super fun) Kelsey Cherry. 

Mona-isms

Meet Madam Mona, Haiti Design Co-op's very own momma

Never one to hold back her unsolicited advice, we have all learned that Mona knows best. She is a kind, wise and loving mother hen always looking out for the needs of those around her. Mona is always dressed in her Sunday best, makes a mean batch of Haitian pickles (spicy slaw), and in her down time can be found perusing Facebook and chatting on WhatsApp.

 Here are a few important pieces of advice that Mona has given us throughout the years:

  1. Yoga gives you colds. 
  2. If you walk on wet floors when barefoot, lady cramps will be worse. 
  3. If you drink a lot of cold water, lady cramps will be worse. 
  4. If you are a runner, your chances of bearing a child will decrease. 
  5. Mangos make your neck hurt. 
  6. Rats will eat your feet at night if you don't shut your door. 
  7. Don't fall in love with a lazy boy.
  8. If you treat everyone with respect, you'll find people that will protect you on the streets.
  9. To raise a child well, you need a good entourage around them. 
  10. If you truly love someone your heart knows it.

Always keeping us on our feet and in check, we think that everyone should have a Mona in their life. So much love for this woman from the HDC team.