Few of us will ever forget the heartbreaking images of devastation in the aftermath of last January’s earthquake in Haiti. Recovery has been slow and in the midst of political unrest, an epidemic outbreak of cholera has claimed over a thousand lives; the death toll continues to climb by more than 60 victims each day.
A new initiative from Macy’s, partnered with Fair Winds Trading and Brandaid Haiti, aims to assist Haitain recovery efforts. Inspired by the courage and culture of the Haitian people and created by Haitian artisan, Macy’s “Heart of Haiti” collection embraces trade for aid; the artisans receive 22% of the retail price, or 100% of net profit, for each piece in the collection. Each piece is signed by the artist and comes with a certificate of authenticity.
Artwork from this collection, made exclusively for Macy’s, includes quilts, metalwork, ceramics, wood-carvings, paintings and jewelry. Many of the hand-tooled serving trays and up-cycled oil drums come from the blacksmith community in Croix des Bouquets, the work in papier maché from Carnival Jacmel artists, and the quilts from a women’s quilting cooperative in Cité Soleil.
In the past, Macy’s has partnered in other global trade for aid initiatives, producing collections like the “Path to Peace” baskets made by master artisans from Rwanda. Path to Peace included the “O-bracelets“, a collaborative effort with artisan Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans. Purchases from these collections directly benefit the artisans, allowing them to earn a steady income, to repair homes, pay school fees and feed and clothe their families. Trade for aid programs allow citizens to be actively involved in growing their communities and strengthening their cultures.
Over the next few months I’ll be writing more about “Heart of Haiti” and the artisans involved. I’m really excited to be involved with with this initiative as a Heart of Haiti Ambassador. I hope you’ll join me in showing your support for this powerful initiative – Please feel free to grab the badge below and display it on your blogs and websites!