January 12, 2010 all Americans were glued to their TV sets when the Breaking News of the devastating 7.0 earthquake shook the ground outside Haiti's capital city of Port-Au-Prince. The devastation was insurmountable. It was too much to to take in. The images of injured children carrying injured children....where? Where were they taking them? There was no where to go. Hospitals were mere rubble. Their homes were gone.
The world responded immediately. Humanitarian aid of medical, hygiene supplies, and food and water arrived within 24 hours. Celebrities rallied friends, corporations and public officials for telethon after telethon to raise funds for more supplies to be sent to Haiti. Churches and other organizations provided volunteer groups to travel to Port-Au-Prince to offer assistance anywhere they could. The need was far and wide.
One night as I sat in my apartment watching more coverage of the relief efforts in Haiti I wondered, like many other Americans, what can I do? Shortly thereafter First Lady Michelle Obama came on the news with a PSA asking for Americans to text "HAITI" to a certain 5 digit number and $10 would be donated to relief efforts. GENIUS! THIS I could do! Though it was a drop in the bucket, I felt like I was able to participate in a small way to the rebuilding of their community.
It's been a little over 2 years since that tragic day in January 2010. Haiti is rebuilding with the efforts of organizations like Macy's who haven't forgotten about the people of Haiti. Macy's is championing the efforts of the Haitian men and women entrepreneurs. Macy's initiative "Heart of Haiti" offers the first sustainable work since the earthquake, enabling artisans to repair their homes, pay school fees, and feed and clothe their families.
What is Macy’s Heart of Haiti?
- Heart of Haiti is a “Trade, Not Aid” initiative launched by artist and social entrepreneur, Willa Shalit, The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Macy’s. Already, Heart of Haiti has led to employment of 750 artists in Haiti, providing financial benefits for an estimated 8,500 people in the country.
- Each item is a one-of-a-kind design and handmade by a Haitian master artisan from raw materials such as recycled oil drums, wrought iron, papier-mâché and stone. The collection features more than 40 home decor items including quilts, metalwork, ceramics, jewelry and paintings and is made almost entirely from recycled and sustainable items such as old cement bags, cardboard, oil drums and local gommier wood.
- Heart of Haiti products are available exclusively online at Macy’s.com. Most items range from $25-$60
Additional Info on Haiti
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and despite the devastating earthquake; people there are filled with hope and a desire to improve their lives through employment. Options are very limited in this country. The Heart of Haiti initiative is one that espouses “Trade, Not Aid,” providing Haitian artisans with an opportunity to make a living, feed their families and pay their children’s school fees (school in Haiti is not free).
For more information on Heart of Haiti, follow @HeartofHaiti on Twitter or like the Heart of Haiti Facebook page at http://facebook.com/
HeartofHaiti. You can also check out video of Everywhere’s Travels to the Heart of Haiti at http://bit.ly/hohtrip