Stories of Hope in Haiti – Trades of Hope

by | Artisans, Stories of Hope

Discover Stories of Hope in Haiti! Haiti endured this century’s worst natural disaster and is home to almost 500,000 orphans. The majority of the orphans have not been orphaned by parental deaths or natural disasters, but by parents who gave them up simply because they could not feed them. The Artisans we work with is an “un-orphanage” and is helping with the orphan crisis by providing parents with sustainable business through creating designs that do good. (Read Time: 6 min.)

Helping Mamas Keep Their Babies

Helping Mamas Keep Their Babies

Haitian Clay & Upcycled Cereal Boxes – Empowering Women to Keep Their Families Together

Illiata’s Story of Hope in Haiti

Illiata is a single mother of five children who lives in an area of extreme poverty in Haiti where safe dignified jobs with fair wages are scarce.

Many other local mothers have been forced to make the heartbreaking decision to give up their children to poverty orphanages to save them from starvation.

But Illiata has been able to keep and provide for all of her children with the income she earns as an Artisan.

Illiata and other women in her community cut, roll, and paste discarded cereal boxes and roll natural Haitian clay into beautiful beads to create fair-trade jewelry that provides them with sustainable work and fair wages.

Their ethically made jewelry is eco-friendly fashion as a force for good that helps keep families in Haiti together.

Illiata, Pure Love Bracelet Artisan in Haiti

Johana’s Story of Hope in Haiti

I’m a single mother with one son.

I come from a big family.

I have eight siblings, four brothers and four sisters, and I’m the only one working.

Without my work, I would have to depend on others. I came outside this workshop’s gate often, until I finally got my lucky day!

I was able to talk to the Artisan leader!

I became an Artisan, and I became more hopeful!

Now, I’m able to pay for more treatments for my son who suffers from a rare and dangerous brain disease.

“I want to pay for my son’s treatments with no stress and be able to save money to offer him a better life. I also want to be able to help my parents and siblings.”
– Johana, Artisan in Haiti

Makensia’s Story of Hope in Haiti

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 have 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 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 and Haitian clay.

Your purchase of handcrafted ethically made Trades of Hope jewelry from Haiti helps Makensia continue to keep her family together.

Kenson’s Story of Hope in Haiti

“Before working as an Artisan, I was selling used clothes on the street.

I was one of the first Artisans to work in our local workshop. I had a friend who worked there, and he introduced me to the Artisans.

It’s had a big impact on my life.

I’m able to save money and pay for both of my daughters to go to school. I’m able to pay for a house to live in for my family.

I have a lot more possibilities now.

I don’t have to worry about having enough food to eat, or how I’ll take care of my family.

I like working in our workshop because I can advance in the business.

I have a lot of possibilities.” – Kenson, Artisan in Haiti

“I would like to spread the joy of having a job to other parts of Haiti. I would love to see our business grow and have locations in the countryside so it can help even more people.”
– Kenson, Artisan in Haiti

Clivia’s Story of Hope in Haiti

“I come from a small family and was raised in one of the most dangerous areas in Port-au-Prince.

I cannot imagine what life would be like without my work. I would have to depend on the help of others.

I love when I hear there are new orders and that I’m able to come to work the next day!

Now, life is really peaceful in our community.

Trades of Hope and this Artisan community have helped by providing jobs.

I have my own family now, and we’ve moved to a safe area since I started working at this workshop.” – Clivia, Artisan in Haiti

“Now, I’m an independent woman and I’m able to help my mother. My dream is to have enough money to be able to build my own home!”
– Clivia, Artisan in Haiti

Ruth’s Story of Hope in Haiti

“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.” – Ruth, Artisan in Haiti

“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!”
Ruth, Artisan in Haiti

Erna’s Story of Hope in Haiti

“My husband didn’t have a job and I didn’t have any way to pay for school or a house for my children.

I regretted having children and thought about killing myself.

Then, someone told me there was a place where I could go to ask for a job.

I came with my two children and the Artisan leader gave me a big hug and told me I could start work on Monday!

Now, I’m able to pay for school for my kids and feed them.

I can pay my rent, and this Artisan community has helped me a lot with medical needs.

My job also helps me care for my mom and dad.

We all live together in a one room rented house.”

– Erna, Artisan in Haiti

“My dream is to own my own home where everyone has their own room.”
– Erna, Artisan in Haiti

Click on the photos below to explore these upcycled cereal box bead & Haitian clay designs from Haiti!

Want to see how Artisans in Haiti transform upcycled cereal boxes into beautiful hand-rolled beads?


Upcycled Steel Oil Drums – Eco-Friendly Solutions to Overcoming Poverty

Claude’s Story of Hope in Haiti

Abandoned by his mother as a young boy, Claude became orphaned and alone when his father passed away.

As a child, Claude worked alongside the Artisans in his village to provide for himself.

As a teen, he sold handcrafted Noah’s Arks at local fairs.

As extreme poverty and the geographical limitations of island living challenged Claude and his fellow Artisans to find affordable and readily available materials, they began to upcycle discarded steel oil drums into handcrafted creative expression of beauty and art.

 Now in his late 20’s, Claude has overcome his past challenges as an orphan and is highly respected by the dozens of Artisans he oversees. His team of steel Artisans continues to create eco-friendly upcycled designs that inspire hope.

Click on the photos below to explore this upcycled steel oil drum ornament made by Claude’s workshop!

Upcycled Aluminum – Using Scrappy Determination to Create Jewelry That Helps Families Thrive

In Haiti, where work opportunities are scarce, we partner with women to create change through design and job creation. With every purchase of their jewelry, women are empowered to receive these jobs in a family-like environment. You can be a part of them receiving an income, health care, emergency loans, educational resources and counseling! Your purchase brings about generational change!

Ismaella’s Story of Hope in Haiti

“In Haiti, life is difficult.

In an unorganized society, men often don’t respect women, and fathers often do not take responsibility for their children.

Women have to become strong to survive and to support their children.

We are a small community of strong women.

We share good and bad times, and because we spend so much time together, we have become a second family.

The opportunity to earn money allows us to become better than we could have imagined.

We can go farther, and we can understand that we have potential for great things.”

– Ismaella, Artisan in Haiti

“We can take care of ourselves and our families.”
– Ismaella, Artisan in Haiti

What would you like to see these Artisans make next?


Ethically Sourced Genuine Leather & Hand-Beaded Designs Made by Strong Women

Shirlene’s Story of Hope in Haiti

I’m an independent single mother of a 7-year-old boy.

Because of my work as an Artisan, my life is better.

It allows me to meet certain needs.

My work has taught me to be a good collaborator, maturity, discipline, and leadership skills.

The atmosphere that reigns at our workshop is not found everywhere.

We are relaxed.

I spend most of my time in this workshop where we are a family.

Some of my favorite memories as an Artisan are our outings together.

Another one of my favorite memories as an Artisan is when a design that I had worked on was chosen!” – Shirlene, Artisan in Haiti

“I dream of one day having my own business.” – Shirlene, Artisan in Haiti

Click on the photos below to explore these ethically made Artisanal designs from Haiti!

Hand Embroidered & Printed Natural Paper Cards Made by Mothers in Areas of Extreme Poverty

Hermanie’s Story of Hope in Haiti

“Life is difficult in this area because so many people don’t have somewhere to live or food to eat, everything is so insecure right now.

This Artisan community helps us a lot! The programs they have and the way they motivate us to see that lives can change makes a huge impact.

Because of my work as an Artisan, I’ve had the stability of sending my kids to school, and the opportunity to invest in other things like building my house.” – Hermanie, Artisan in Haiti

“My favorite part about my work is when I’m paid! I would like to open a restaurant!” – Hermanie, Artisan in Haiti

Judelane’s Story of Hope in Haiti

“This Artisan community helps people so much in my community! They build houses, have programs to help families, and provide jobs. I didn’t have any work before I started at this workshop.

I love taping cards. I love that I didn’t know how to before, but I learned, and now I love it!

My life has changed a lot! I have five children to pay for school. The oldest is seventeen, and the youngest is three.

My work as an Artisan helps contribute to things like paying for school. I want to have enough to help my children.” – Judelane, Artisan in Haiti

“My oldest is going to finish school soon! I didn’t finish school and I am so excited for him to finish!” – Judelane, Artisan in Haiti

Gertrude’s Story of Hope in Haiti

“God sent Kayla and Webert (Gertrude’s Artisan Leaders).

This job has been a provision for me. I am so much more comfortable.

I have five children, the oldest is twenty, and the youngest is almost two.

I was always worried about how I would provide for my children, and this job has changed that.

It has given me a safe house to live in and the ability to feed and send my children to school.” – Gertrude, Artisan in Haiti

“This Artisan community helps so many people in our village! They build homes and run a school. God can do everything, but my dream is for Him to provide for my children as they grow up!”

– Gertrude, Artisan in Haiti

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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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.