Sneak a Peek at How Stars of Haiti Begin

by | Artisans

Read Time: 2 min.

Trades of Hope is celebrating the holidays with handcrafted ornaments from Haiti, where our mission to keep families together began.

Creating Beauty from Boxes

After years of operating charities in communities where extreme poverty forced many parents to give up their children to orphanages, Trades of Hope founder, Gretchen Huijskens, was determined to find a sustainable solution. She’d seen, firsthand, how charity often provided temporary relief, making it possible for some families to be reunited, only to be torn apart again when the charity ran out. She’d seen single moms working hard to try to make money any way they could, but their lack of education and job opportunities prevented them from being able to provide well for their children, every day.

Trades of Hope partnered with Artisans in Haiti to help vulnerable women learn how to earn sustainable income through creating beauty from discarded cardboard boxes.

This holiday season, they’re creating our festive and fun Stars of Haiti ornaments.

Artisans begin by cutting cardboard boxes into thin strips and rolling them onto chopsticks.

To create cone-shaped beads, they cut the cardboard into triangular strips.

Each ball of rolled up cardboard is coated with glue to bind the layers together and form a solid bead.

Once the glue has dried, the Artisans varnish the beads to make them water resistant.

The round and cone-shaped cereal box beads are woven together by hand with glass beads to create the unique and colorful star-inspired shapes.

Once a red ribbon is added, your Stars of Haiti ornament is ready to hang on your holiday tree!

These ornaments are handcrafted by mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends who are working together to overcome poverty and experience new lives filled with hope.

Ruth’s Story of Hope

“I’m a single mom of a wonderful 14-year-old. Life was really hard. I used to sell whatever I could find, but it wouldn’t last long. There are times when our money was all gone. I’d be hopeless because I had to pay rent, feed my child, and send her to school while I had nothing.

When I became an Artisan, I felt like it was a new beginning.

Everything that I couldn’t do, I’m able to do, now. I’m able to take really good care of my Girl.

My hope for the future is to be able to save to have my own house and send my daughter to a good university when she’s ready!”

Like many Artisans, Ruth’s life is being changed for good – not by charity – but by the opportunity to provide for herself and her family.

Celebrate with these handcrafted Stars of Haiti ornaments and give hope to families in Haiti this holiday season!

Stars of Haiti are Keeping Families Together

Our Stars of Haiti winter holiday ornaments are out of season and not available at this time.

Trades of Hope is partnering with Artisans in areas of extreme poverty in Haiti to help mamas keep their babies.
Every purchase of Trades of Hope designs from Haiti provides skills training and jobs in areas of extreme poverty that help women keep their families together.
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  1. Kim

    Love the stars. They are my absolute favorite.

    • Elisabeth Huijskens

      I’m so glad you love them, Kim! They are a crowd favorite, for sure! And the impact behind them? Well, that makes them all the more special.


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Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas is an inspirational writer with a passion for helping women discover and celebrate their unique gifts and abilities. Kathy is part of the Communications Team at Trades of Hope focusing on Artisan advocacy.


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Trades of Hope is an ethical fashion and lifestyle brand that helps women around the world escape poverty and trafficking through our fair trade designs. Learn how you can partner with Artisans around the world here.