Six years ago today Haiti was leveled with a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake. More than 160,000 were killed, 1.5 million displaced and 300,000 buildings destroyed*. Even now, scars of the tragedy still remain, as Port au Prince is still pockmarked by half-destoryed buildings and living conditions worse than before the quake.
The already weak infrastructure of this country was more or less obliterated. Aid came in droves, but very little of it reached the actual citizens. Today, the NGO’s have pulled out and creditors have stopped investing. Haiti is at a developmental impasse and more economically fragile than before.
As I walk through my house and look at my home decor and peek in my jewelry box at the items from Haiti, given to me by one of my best friends from one of her many philanthropic trips since the earthquake, I think of the Haitian people. Haiti is rich in the arts and despite being the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, metal artisans, papier-mâché artisans, and skilled crafts people are anxious to work and earn a living to support their families.
Imagine for a moment that you lived in Haiti. You have the desire to work. You have the creative ability, but you have no job. No way to earn a living or feed your family. Can you imagine the devastation you would feel? Every time I slip on a paper bead bracelet, or look at one of the many handcrafted items decorating my home, I think of their loss, their struggle, their heartache, and their profound resilience.
That’s why today, I’m writing about Macy’s Heart of Haiti. Time and time again, the commitment Macy’s made shortly after the earthquake six years ago has made me a loyal fan of the Macy’s brand and the Macy’s Heart of Haiti line of handcrafted goods. It was a bold decision to carry a line of handcrafted goods made by Haiti’s rich artist community and offer the products up for sale to customers who still picture New York City grandeur when shopping at Macy’s.
Macy’s Heart of Haiti
Macy’s Heart of Haiti has been giving economic support to Haitian artisans ever since the devastating earthquake hit six years ago. Shortly after the earthquake, Macy’s began carrying this product line featuring an array of beautiful handmade goods crafted by artisans in Haiti. The country of Haiti is rich in the arts despite being the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. An estimated 400,000 artisans (out of 10 million people living in Haiti) rely on their handcrafted goods as a source of income. These metal artisans, papier-mâché artisans, and skilled crafts people are anxious to work and earn a living to support their families.
Does the American shopper appreciate handmade artisan items made by Haitians? The answer is a resounding yes, as Macy’s Heart of Haiti continues to thrive. To date over 550 artists make their livelihood by creating goods for sale at Macy’s. While other aid organizations have come and gone, Macy’s has remained, making a commitment to the artists and providing proof that American shoppers appreciate gifts that make a difference.
My newest addition is from the Heart of Haiti line of metal baskets made in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets by acclaimed metal artisans who have practiced this technique for years. The sales of these handcrafted bowls allow the artisans to feed their families, send their children to school and better support their extended families. Artisans forge these bowls out of recycled oil barrels, pounding out intricate designs, creating beautful handcrafted goods while honoring their artisanal heritage.
This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.