Posts tagged ‘haiti’
Recent events in Haiti has prompted Global Fayre to step up its level of commitment to the artisans of that country (we talked previously about the need for sustained support in the long term as well as short term crisis relief).
As a result of our search for new sources, we came across Caribbean Craft.
Based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Caribbean Craft was founded in 1990 by young Dutch and Belgian entrepreneurs who wanted to address Haiti’s high unemployment with artisan training, design assistance and new export market outlets. In 2006 Caribbean Craft became a Haitian women owned company.
They encourage their artisans to work in a sustainable way with recycled products. As you would expect, a large part of their output is concentrated on the highly original and internationally renowned “oil drum art”, made from recycled steel drums. They also use paper maché made from empty cement bags and starch made from locally grown, renewable arrowroot to create beautiful and festive ornaments, money or “piggy” banks, serving trays, and other useful creations. They even produce their own glue from the starch of locally grown manioc and use plastic bottles and gallon containers.
Prior to the January earthquake, Caribbean Craft employed over 300 people in Port-au-Prince and another 200 artisans in the regions. The earthquake rendered their rented premises too dangerous to use, leaving these 500 artisans on the street (literally, in many cases, with their houses also being destroyed).
Far from being knocked back by this, Caribbean Craft quickly responded by putting together a short term plan to get their people back to work as quickly as possible, as well as a longer term plan to build their own facility capable of withstanding future earthquakes.
You can read the whole plan here.
We got our first consignment of products from Caribbean Craft last week. The pieces are beautiful, and response to them has been great!
Here are a few examples:
We’ve been delighted to play a small part in a project by the After School Artists at Wilard South Elementary.
The images below are just some of the pins and magnets that the kids have made to help people in Haiti who have lost their homes.
Materials for the project were donated by National Art Shop and Lowes, and 100% of the $3 for each piece goes to the people of Haiti.
They are available at Global Fayre – but hurry, they’re going fast!
It’s heart warming to see the contribution being made by so many people to the relief effort for Haiti.
A concern, of course, is what happens after the media attention switches to another story, when the relief agencies have another crisis to rush….when people just forget and move on.
That’s why Fair Trade is so critical. Fair Trade is not about short-term fixes and fire-fighting (important though those things are); Fair Trade IS about empowering communities to make a difference in the long term, to break their cycle of poverty.
At Global Fayre we don’t have many products from Haiti, but what we do have is simply stunning, especially the oil drum wall art. The cut metal ironwork from Croix des Bouquets, a small village outside of Port-au-Prince is one of Haiti’s most original art forms. In the early 1930s Georges Liautaud formed imaginative cemetery crosses from recycled metal cut from oil drums. An artistic tradition has grown from those humble beginnings and now the village has become a center for this art, with more than 60 workshops.
Cut metal artisans cut open 55-gallon drums, hammer them flat, and then mark designs on the black metal with chalk. Using a hammer and chisel, they pound and cut through the metal to make designs. Some are left black, others are painted with bright colors.
We source our oil drum wall art from the Haitian Committee of Artisans (CAH). Since 1972, the nonprofit CAH has marketed and exported crafts made by Haitian artisans, cooperatives and craft groups. The craftspeople whose work CAH promotes have organized themselves in a variety of ways. Some are cooperative associations, some are family workshops and some are independent artisans; all depend on the efforts of CAH to market their handicrafts for a fair wage. In 1999 CAH became part of the “Fondation pour le Developpement de l’Artisanat Haitien.” CAH provides marketing and promotional expertise, other sections provide training for artisans and reference resources on handicrafts.
Here’s just a few examples:
These pieces are available in our store at 324 S Campbell, Springfield, MO and online at http://www.globalfayre.com.
You’ll find the Haiti pieces here.
20% of the proceeds from these beautiful works of art is being contributed to relief agencies working in Haiti.
We’re always excited to reach the point of making another Kiva loan. Of course Haiti is heavy on our minds at the moment – all the more reason to get excited about being able to make another micro-loan. These loans are making a substantial long-term difference to the borrowers and their community.
Our newest loan is to Benita Lopez and her group.
Benita Lopez is from the village of Villa Concepcion, Cauayan City, Isabela. She is 52 years old. Benita is the group leader of a fifteen-member group loan offered by ASKI. While each member of the group receives an individual loan, they are all collectively responsible for paying back the loans of their fellow group members if someone is delinquent or defaults.
Benita is married and has two adult children. She owns and operates a business selling bananas and vegetables. She has been engaged in her business for over twenty-six years and earns approximately 1,000 PHP a week.
In 2008, Benita joined ASKI to gain access to financial services to help improve her living situation and her ability to engage in business activities. She is requesting a new loan of 20,000 PHP which will be used to purchase more products to sell. This loan will be her fourth from ASKI. She plans to use the additional revenue generated from the business to improve and expand her business.
ASKI is one of the most successful microfinance institutions in the Philippines. It has twenty-one branches covering the Central and Northeastern areas. Its clients are mostly of farmers, fisherfolk and small entrepreneurs.