Heart of Haiti: Trade. Not Aid.

I still think about Haiti often. Of course there are new world problems every day and it’s easy to forget what is past. One of the greatest gifts we have in today’s world, in my opinion, is that the world is smaller because of innovation in travel and technology. A great tragedy is that means our attentions are often thrown from one direction to the next. From Hurricane Katrina to political upheavel in Egypt.

For the past two years, almost all of the gifts I buy from friends and family support women in developing countries. Often I’ve been there to buy the items in person, but otherwise I look for products through stores or online that will support women.

Heart of Haiti is a collection of one-of-a-kind art made from recycled materials and sold at Macy’s. Macy’s (in partnership with Fairwinds Trading and Brand-Aid) launched the collection in October to help provide opportunities for struggling Haitian artists to earn a sustainable, life-saving income.

Heart of Haiti operates on the concept “Trade, Not Aid.” Rather than assistance from a one-time charity donation it provides on-going economic support. Macy’s created a platform that allows Haitian artists to design beautiful, handmade home decor for public consumption. The proceeds directly benefit the artists and their families, significantly increasing the standard of living for their shattered communities.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, Haitians were left with despair, destruction, and a lack of opportunity. This collection truly is helping the people of Haiti rebuild their lives, enabling them to repair homes, pay school fees, and feed and help their families.

I worked with Macy’s last year on a campaign for their Culinary Council and still have a relationship with them. The team is truly committed to a number of campaigns like this and it’s part of who they are and their DNA. It’s exciting to see companies like Macy’s support women in Haiti. It’s these kind of companies that I love working with because they look to what they do best and work on building partnerships that matter and focus on their key strengths. That’s a win-win.

Quick Facts about Heart of Haiti:

Stay connected! Twitter: @HeartofHaiti and Facebook: Heart of Haiti and Flickr.

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