Thankfulness and the Heart of Haiti

heart-of-haiti-hand-hammered-candlesticksThis week has been a whirl of shopping, cleaning, and cooking. Family is coming so my world is very small this week, limited to my house.

Even so, as I set the table with turkey, some green vegetables no one but I will eat, and four kinds of dessert, I will think of Haiti.

Everywhere and Macy’s sent me a pair of hand-hammered candlesticks from the Heart of Haiti collection. These will be in the center of my table as my family comes together to give thanks.

The fifth anniversary of the devastating Haitian earthquake will be on January 15, 2015. I’ve been able to write about Heart of Haiti, a trade-not-aid program through Macy’s several times since then.

Since the Haitian earthquake in 2010, the people of Haiti have come a long way in rebuilding their country. One thing that’s helped has been the jobs Haitian artisans have had in making lovely homegoods and decorative items for sale in Macy’s stores and online through Macys.com.

This trade-not-aid has allowed artisans to earn a wage that supports their extended families. The most amazing part is much of the products are made from what amount to scraps and trash in the U.S. My lovely metal candlesticks are hand-hammered from empty oil drums, like the Heart of Haiti heart pendant I wear.

Here’s a short video showing how the metal goods are hand-crafted from scrap steel. It’s pretty cool to see how the things in your house are made!

Macy’s has been active in Haiti since shortly after the January 12, 2010, earthquake and realized that despite the devastation there was an artist community that existed and was eager to bring their products to market

Since then, Macy’s launched a product line that has employed more than 400 artists so far. Heart of Haiti products are available on line and in some Macy’s stores. When I was in Atlanta last fall I made a point to visit the Lenox Square Mall Macy’s to buy a few items for presents.

Here’s another video showing more of the story of Heart of Haiti.

I having things in my house that tell a story. And it’s a good feeling to give presents that mean something. When you give a gift from Heart of Haiti, you employ Haitian artisans, and their entire community benefits.

The average Haitian’s annual income is only $400 a year.  And Haiti has an estimated 400,000 artisans (out of a population of ten million) who rely solely on their handcrafted goods as a source of income. No other sector of employment even approaches such numbers.

This year when you think about the presents you’ll give, think about gifts that give hope. I’m thankful for so much this year, and I have so much hope for the future. I’m glad to be able to pass on a little of that hope to others.

I am a  member of the Everywhere Society and they provided me with this product for review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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