Friends and supporters of our HDC community-
As you probably are aware if you’ve been following our posts via Instagram and Facebook, we have found ourselves in a particularly challenging and discouraging time in Haiti. The past year there has been continued political unrest that has reached a boiling point over the past few months. Many things are at play and contribute to where Haiti is now, but some of the key factors are a lack of governmental leadership, an on-going fuel shortage due to mismanaged subsidy funds, a sharp rise in inflation, and a lack of proper accountability for elected officials.
The opposing political parties want the current President to leave, and the population is demanding a change to the status quo in Haiti. This has manifested itself through on-going protests that have immobilized day-to-day activities in the country. While it is difficult to accurately convey the multi-faceted layers of issues coming to a head, and what “peyi-lock” (country lock down) actually feels like, we felt it’s time to stumble through these mixed emotions and anxiety ridden thoughts to communicate with you all what is happening within our own HDC community.
A population that is already living in very vulnerable conditions, are now facing higher costs for food, staple items, and transportation (when it is available). They are losing their ability to work, and for their children to be able to go to school, not to mention the fear for their own safety in the volatile conditions of the protests and their unpredictability. It has been like this for almost a month, and has happened multiple times this year, to varying degrees.
Now- every day doesn’t feel like civil war. Some days are calmer than others, and most days it depends on the areas you’re in. For people with resources available- you can stock up on food, water, fuel, and check the reports daily to see what areas are clear and what areas are safe, but for the majority of people, the privilege to be prepared is not an option. Most people depend on their daily income to feed their families that day. They’ve worked tirelessly to pay school fees in hopes of their children receiving an education, and now their kids haven’t been able to attend classes for over a month for their own safety. Schools that have attempted to open and function as normal have been threatened and targeted by opposition protesters. For those that do have steady work- the burden they carry of providing for those around them has gotten much heavier, and their fear of traveling to work safely many days is very real. We had a beloved staff member, 3 months pregnant, that was hit by a rock thrown by a protestor on her way home from work last week. We have many staff members who have walked over 2 hours, around burning tire barricades to make it to and from work. We have mothers with sick children who cannot get them to the hospital due to blocked roads. We’ve had artisans go without eating because of their inability to buy food, due to a lack of available cash, because the banks have been shut down for over a week.
We are hungry for change, but we are desperate for peace too. Many people have reached out asking how we are doing, it’s a difficult question to answer. We are struggling. We are tired. Our spirits are sad, and angry, for the injustice and corruption that led us to this place, and our hearts are broken for the further suffering of many people who’s load was so heavy from the start.
But we keep moving forward; we choose optimism, and truly, what other choice do we have?
We are committed to contributing to the Haiti we want to see in 50 years. We pray for change; we dream of security, education, and economic opportunities for our children, but all prayer must be accompanied by action- So we are doing our best to stay focused on the tasks ahead one day at a time, and we are grateful for the signs of hope Haiti gives us each day.
Your orders give us hope (truly they do!). Fellow business owners, street vendors, and most employees keep doing their best to show up; pushing forward against what seem to be insurmountable odds. This encourages us to keep moving forward as well, and the thing is, we all have no choice but to show up- so many people are counting on us. Many have reached out and want to know how to best support Haiti during this time. Here are some ways we need you to stand with us-
Buy Haitian Made:
We cannot stress enough the importance of supporting Haitian businesses at this time. Every single Haitian-made product you buy is employing a team that is providing for many families. On average, each of our employees is supporting another 7 individuals. Due to the on-going crisis this year, so many local businesses are suffering and having to lay off employees. Christmas shopping season is on the horizon- please think of Haiti when you are purchasing. Here are a list of a few of our favorite companies you can support:
2nd Story Goods: Jewelry, handbags, homewares
Deux Mains: Shoes, handbags, jewelry
Ti Sak Suk: Apparel, accessories
MyaBél: Craft cocktails, hot sauces, cooking sauces
Papillon Enterprise: Jewelry, T-shirts, Ceramics
Atelier Calla: Jewelry, homewares
Caribbean Craft: Paper mache home decor
Wild & Fierce: Specialty children’s wear
Petite Palm: Baby accessories, jewelry
Pascale Theard Creations: Handbags & leather accessories
Gift of Hope: Jewelry, handbags, homewares
Boukman Rhum: Botanical Rhum
Rosie’s Boutique: Greeting cards, jewelry, homewares
2. Promote Haitian Made:
Encourage your friends, family, and local retailers to buy from Haiti. Is there a boutique or online retailer that you love and think would be a good fit for our products or the brands above? Please tell them about us! Do you have friends fundraising for certain causes that need wholesale product to raise funds? We would love to make products for them, and many of the brands above provide product for fundraising as well.
3. Support our Education & Wellness Programs:
These programs are vital assets in supporting our artisans’ families in the heavy load they carry. You can become a monthly donor or make a one-time donation, and your support it is so appreciated. Your support provides daily lunches, quality health insurance, contributions to our artisan savings program called “Save For Tomorrow”, financial gifts to our artisans during emergency situations such as this, monthly educational seminars, and group wellness activities.
Thank you for your support, friends. We have endless gratitude for each of you!
-The HDC team
And to our friends in Haiti, this message was shared by a friend of ours and we feel is an important message to relay-
Nan moman kote lavi a pi difisil pou ou, chèche anndan w, nan kè w ak nan nanm ou tout enèji ak fòs pozitif pou kenbe, pou jwenn lajwa pou mete nan kè w ak souri sou vizaj ou.
Jodi a sitiyasyon Peyi a kapab koz anpil stress, depresyon ak tèt fè mal. Chèche fè tout sa w kapab pou ou pa efondre: Bay blag, fè lekti ki ka entèresan, jwe ak timoun yo, jwe ak zanmi w, menm si w ap tande nouvèl men tande mizik ak emisyon ki kapab relakse w. Fè espò, detire kò w, chase fatig kò a epi detann lespri a. Pran swen kò w, pran swen lespri w.
Jodi a Peyi a enstab, gen boulvès, men sa pap rete konsa. Nan mitan stress ak tristès, fè tout sa w kapab pou viv tandrès ak alegrès.
Rete byen fèm!
From by Evanise Louis via Tara Livesay