“I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with a product for review for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Years ago, my wonderfully thoughtful sister-in-law got married to an equally thoughtful man, and in lieu of gifts they asked their guests to donate to charities in their name. They were keen on furnishing their home and building their life with recycled and repurposed items rather than amassing more stuff from heaps of new wedding gifts.
I wished then that I was more like them when I got married. It sure would have saved the goodwill from boxes and boxes of margarita glasses and chip plates shaped like sombreros (I am sorry.) and me from feeling bad about all the stuff. Instead of wishing I were different, I decided to be different. So, what I did was first donate to a charity in their honor and then start looking at gift giving a whole new way.
Some time later, when it was time to buy this newly married sister-in-law a Christmas gift, I took very seriously the global seed she had planted in my brain back on her wedding day. Enter Heart of Haiti. Heart of Haiti is a collection of beautiful pieces for your home that includes everything from beautiful hand carved bowls and woven vases to beautiful Erzulie cocktail napkins that I am lucky enough to own.
Heart of Haiti products are available through Macy’s and they truly are gifts that give back. Each Haitian artist that makes your product receives 50% of the proceeds from each sale. In a country that has been devastated by poverty and natural disasters, there are an estimated 400,000 artisans who rely solely on their handcrafted goods as a source of income. No other sector of employment even approaches such numbers. But these artisans don’t have it easy. They have trouble with access to markets and raw materials that are often due to poor infrastructure in the country. With Heart of Haiti, these artisans’ work is brought to people through Macy’s online and in store options, which allows countless Haitians the ability to support themselves and their families.
Now, that is a gift that I think even my globally conscious sister-in-law would accept. It is surely a group I want to continue to support, so don’t be surprised if you get a Heart of Haiti gift from me next time the occasion arises.
Want to learn more about Heart of Haiti? Watch this and follow them on twitter at @HeartofHaiti.
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Cherie Miot Abbanat says
Thank you Cristie for writing about buying thoughtfully, buying to make an impact, and how buying a gift that is fair trade can empower artisans in Haiti. I run Haiti Projects (haitiprojects.org) in Fond des Blancs, Haiti where close to 100 women worked over several weeks to complete the Erzulie Cocktail napkins that Cristie writes about in this article. Each women has about 4 to 5 children, which means this project is supporting over 400 children! Invest, Impact and Empower with Embroidery! I’ll be printing this article out and sharing it with our women. I’ve been telling the women how much people love these napkins and now I have proof. Thanks, Again! –Cherie
Thank you, Cherie, for both the work you do and alerting me to it! I’m thrilled to support Heart of Haiti projects and even more so to know about the women behind them. Thank you.