This Mother’s Day, I’m working with Clever Girls in support of Macy’s Heart of Haiti to shine a light on the “trade, not aid” program, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans struggling to rebuild their lives and support their families after the 2010 earthquake.
The Caribbean island nation of Haiti is so close to us, only a couple hours flight from Florida, and yet it is so drastically different from anything we know in our country. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere with 80% of the people living below the poverty line and 50% of the people living in extreme, abject poverty.
I have read stories in the news and personal stories about life in Haiti. Some of the things I read seem unbelievable, especially the standard of medical care (or lack thereof). Clean water and sanitation are major issues there especially with the recent cholera outbreaks. You may or may not know that my job as a water engineer has made these needs a passion of mine. You undoubtedly know, if you have been reading for any length of time at all, my heart for orphans. The numbers are all over the place but I’ve seen estimates as high as 500,000 orphans living in Haiti. Some live on the streets, some live in one of the seven hundred orphanages, but either way it’s not good. My mama’s heart breaks for those kids.
On the flip side, you probably also know how much I love jewelry. Today is Fashion Friday, after all. So when I heard Macy’s was working with local jewelry artisans in Haiti to make these beautiful pendants I was all over it. There are lots of other kinds of necklaces, not just hearts, and lots of pottery and other handmade things too available online. I love being able to combine my love of style with a statement about what really has my heart and this jewelry does just that.
Mother’s Day is coming and I think a fantastic gift would be jewelry with a purpose. It was Mother’s Day two years ago when I decided to sponsor my Compassion daughter Mbeyu in Kenya. That relationship has been so amazing as we send letters and photos back and forth. Compassion also works in Haiti, in fact I read an article in their magazine about a kid who graduated from the Compassion program and went on to become an elected member of government in Haiti. Pretty cool.
Big News Coming!
So it’s a bit amusing to me that the Heart of Haiti promotion asked me to “Share Your Heart” and the image says “follow your heart” because the truth is that my heart right now can very much be found in Haiti. So that’s exactly why I have decided to….(stay tuned for a big announcement!)
[UPDATED:] We’re adopting from Haiti!
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 online at Macy’s.com.
Thank you to Macy’s Heart of Haiti for sponsoring my participation in this “Share Your Heart” promotion. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.