Look into the Heart of Haiti this Holiday Season

by Chloe Jeffreys · 4 comments

in Haiti

Since I’ve been back from Haiti I’ve been asked over and over again by friends and family, “What is the best way we can help the people of Haiti?”

This is an excellent question without just one answer. I think this question reflects both the generous nature of Americans, but also our concern that our giving really does result in being helpful.

There were many times when I, and the other women (pictured below) who had also gone to Haiti to volunteer with MFH, wondered if our being in Haiti was truly helping anyone.

Midwives_for_Haiti

Left to Right: Cheryl Heitkamp CNM, Chloe Jeffreys RN, Jodi Westrum RN, Renee Sicignano CPM, Susan Kamin CNM

Measured against what any single person can do, the myriad of problems plaguing Haiti seem insurmountable. Often I wondered if trying to do anything good in Haiti was like attempting to empty the Pacific Ocean with a Dixie cup.

How to Help Haiti

I’ve been reading a lot about Haiti and the situation there is very complex, and the answers aren’t simple or easy. I do believe that just throwing money at Haiti is not likely to lead to any long term solutions for this deeply troubled nation. But that doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. There’s plenty we can all do to help the people of Haiti.

What I do think helps are programs and initiatives that help the Haitian people help themselves.  Programs like Midwives for Haiti, which offers midwifery training to Haitian men and women, benefits the midwives and their families by giving them a marketable skill. In turn, these midwives can use their skills to save the lives of mothers and babies. In this way, one trained midwife has the potential to affect hundreds if not thousands of lives over the span of his or her career.

Having a Heart for Haiti

Another remarkable program that truly helps Haitians help themselves is Macy’s Heart of Haiti. Here’s a snapshot from Macy’s website that explain how Heart of Haiti helps (click to enlarge):

Heart_of_Haiti

Macy’s Heart of Haiti initiative provides opportunities for artists in Haiti to work with US designers, helping strengthen international artisan relationships and making their products viable in the US market. The Heart of Haiti campaign pays in excess of fair wage to the talented artisans who create the product, giving them the dignity of work and economic self-determination.

Heart of Haiti provides real help to real people:

Heart of Haiti Artisans

What We Can Do to Help Haiti This Holiday Season

Luckily, we do not need to go to Haiti to help the people there.  In fact, this holiday season we can all help Haiti right from the comfort of our living rooms by going online and giving gifts that matter from Macy’s Heart of Haiti collection.

The Heart of Haiti collection features more than 40 home decor items including quilts, metalwork, jewelry and paintings all made almost entirely from recycled and sustainable items such as old cement bags, cardboard, oil drums and local gommier wood from Haiti. The newest collection for the Heart of Haiti line features products with earthy tones that can easily decorate any home with the help of a creative eye.

Heart_of_Haiti_Collection
Macy’s Heart of Haiti upholds the belief that “trade not aid” is a powerful way to create sustainable work and much needed financial opportunities.
Heart_of_Haiti_Metal
Right before I left for Haiti I received a beautiful metal picture frame from Macy’s Heart of Haiti collection from the Be Everywhere Society.

The entire time I was in Haiti I searched for the perfect picture that would take up residence in my beautiful frame when I got home.

On the last day, just before leaving the city of Hinche where I was staying, I got the picture a picture of the other midwives and nurses I served with while I was there. These women–along with the midwives and others devoted to saving lives of the mothers and infants in Haiti–are the real Heart of Haiti. I’ll never forget the lessons these women and men taught me about selfish love and service to others.

Heart_of_Haiti_Collection

 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth Ann Chiles November 17, 2013 at 6:37 am

I love what you and the other midwives did in Haiti and I know that your work there made a difference to those ladies whose lives you came in contact with. I love the idea of purchasing items from the Heart of Haiti collection—what a great way to actually support artisans who receive a fair wage for their craft. Thank you for passing along such great information !
Beth Ann Chiles recently posted..My Alma Mater Made the NewsMy Profile

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Chloe Jeffreys November 17, 2013 at 11:31 am

Thanks for commenting, Beth. I know we’ll be doing our Christmas shopping this year from the Heart of Haiti collection.

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Magnolia November 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm

You might think this is weird, but I actually like the way you look with no make-up and your work clothes. I know you’re all about beauty and glamour in your 50s. But I’m one of those who is all about comfort and easy living. So, I tend to admire natural beauty.

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Chloe Jeffreys November 17, 2013 at 11:32 am

Oh thank you, Magnolia. By the time that picture was taken I couldn’t have looked more natural. And I probably was suffering from DEET poisoning.

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