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Upcycling Cereal Boxes to Fight Poverty
Surrounded by the tropical beauty of Haiti, Makensia is also surrounded by extreme poverty. But neither poverty, nor the death of a child, nor domestic abuse has defined her. She has persevered through many challenging seasons and continues to pursue good things for her family. While many mothers in her village have been forced to make the heartbreaking decision to give up their children to “poverty orphanages” – hoping to save them from starvation – this mother of five has been able to earn enough income to keep her family together by hand-rolling beads and making jewelry from discarded cereal boxes.
Haiti’s Poverty Orphan Crisis
Makensia’s homeland, Haiti, is home to almost 500,000 orphans. The majority of these children have not been orphaned by parental deaths or natural disasters, but by parents who love them, but are unable to feed and care for them. While many poverty orphanages in Haiti are truly safe havens for children whose parents are working toward the hope of returning for their children, other poverty orphanages are big businesses who exploit these children through tourism schemes and exorbitant pleas for donations.
Discovering Hope Through This “Un-Orphanage”
Makensia’s Artisan community is part of an “un-orphanage” program that is on the forefront of offering hope in the midst of Haiti’s orphan crisis by empowering parents to keep and provide for their own children through opportunities to earn a sustainable income, as Artisans. Makensia has experienced real hope through this missional Artisan community. Every cereal box bead design she creates helps her continue to keep her family together.