Five years. 1,826 days. It seems like a long time, doesn’t it? That is, until it flies right on by in a flash. While a lot can be accomplished in 1,826 days, it can also pass by in the blink of an eye.
Believe it or not, January 12, 2015 marks 5-years since the devastating earthquake in Haiti that resulted in catastrophic damage – crippling what was already third world nation. Though they have made a fair amount of progress since that fateful day, Haiti is still in dire need of help. The people of Haiti are proud, kind, and incredibly appreciative of any help they receive.
There is so much more to Haiti than negative headlines, such as the beautiful landscapes and talented artisans. Macy’s went to Haiti shortly after the January 12, 2010 earthquake and realized that despite the devastation there was an artistic community that existed. The retailer quickly grew eager to bring their products to market through the practice widely known as Trade-not-Aid. They launched a product line of Gifts that Give Hope for sale at Macys.com and in select stores, which to date has employed 400 Haitian artisans.
One recent statistic said that nearly 80% of the population of Haiti lives on less than $2 per day. Yet when you employ one artist in Haiti, the entire community benefits from their sustainable income opportunities. Over 500 artists employed can benefit over 3,000 members of their extended family. To put this into perspective, the average Haitian’s annual income is only $400 a year. There are an estimated 400,000 local artisans (out of a 10M population) who rely solely on their handcrafted goods as a source of income. No other sector of employment in Haiti even approaches such numbers.
So how can we help? How can we give back? By purchasing their handmade wares. By giving them as gifts. By showing them that we appreciate their craft, letting them know that we care about their wellbeing, and their future.
All the metal artwork items from the Heart of Haiti collection are created using steel oil drums that are hand hammered and chiseled (and sculpted) to create unique pieces like the ones in the Heart of Haiti collection.These Haitian artisans create beautiful, unique handcrafted items using only the materials they have around them – like the recycled oil drums used to hand-hammer this fabulous metal tray. This tray was gifted to me by the folks at Heart of Haiti so that I could see in person the phenomenal artistry and skill used to craft it. Though I was not all that surprised, given how much I adore my other Heart of Haiti pieces.
As the season of giving approaches, consider these handmade décor items from the Heart of Haiti collection. Perhaps there is even room on your Thanksgiving table for a handmade serving tray like this one. Or maybe you would prefer a beautiful vase, set of candlesticks, coasters, or a photo frame. What better way is there to be thankful, or to show your generosity, than by helping someone else?
For additional information about Macy’s is giving back and how Heart of Haiti is helping the community, visit this page. Heart of Haiti collections can be found in the following Macy’s store locations: Herald Square, Brooklyn Downtown, Metro Center, Chicago State Street, Northland Center, Seattle Downtown, Portland Downtown, San Francisco Union Square, Biltmore Fashion Park, South Coast Plaza Home, Mission Valley Home, Dallas Galleria, Lenox Square Mall, and Dadeland Mall.
And to start off your Heart of Haiti collection, I am giving away one of these beautiful soapstone candle holders! Just click on the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Good luck!