Meet 4 makers from Haiti. They make pants, T-shirts and underwear for some of the biggest American Brands. A week with them changed us forever. They are curious about you, the shopper and sent some messages for you.
“I am 55 years old. For 7 years I have swept denim scraps off the factory floor. Before this I used to wash and sell used shoes. I have five children and a wife who is sick with fibrosis.
I recently learned about my finances and managed to build a small house for my family.
I have no dreams. Dare I dream when I am just a sweeper?”
Message to the shopper: “Buy more that’s made in Haiti. We need and appreciate these jobs. I only wish I could have access to a doctor, to make my wife better.”
After the interview he took us to his home which he built himself with cinder blocks and corrugated metal on the roof. It is no bigger than two tables put together. The outer room is yet to be finished. The inner quarter is dark with no electricity. They don’t have enough room, so three of their children live with his sister. He and his family were so welcoming and grateful for the very little they have. It was humbling.
“I am 24 years old and have sewed pant pockets for the past five years. I had to drop out of school to make money but hope to go back some day and study computer science.
I recently took a health course and learned about water sanitation. I am sick less often and am now teaching my neighbors about water borne illnesses.”
Message to the shopper: “See my smile when you see “Made in Haiti”. My friends and I worked hard to make those pants.”
Maud is energetic, confident and affectionate. She has big hopes and dreams for her life. Her home is a tiny dark room with just a bed and three plastic chairs. There is need everywhere. Naked children running in open sewers with no shoes. Wild roosters, pigs and goats digging through rubbish. Yet she has a smart phone and adds us on Facebook. We have been texting on WhatsAp since we have been back.
“I am 22 years old and have been sewing American Eagle Outfitter T-shirts for the past three years. My entire family relies on my income.
I dreamed of getting a degree but had to drop out. I sew T-shirts so that my son can have a better future. I hope he finishes school, goes on to university, and gets a better job than me.”
Message to the shopper: “When you buy Made in Haiti clothes you create more jobs for this country. These are jobs we really need.”
“I am a 24-year old, and I have been sewing underwear for 6 years. I am a single mother of two whose husband left to find work in Chile and never returned. I am not sure where I go from here?
I hope there is a better future for my children.”
Message to shoppers: “Sewing your underwear is hard work. It helps me secure a better future for my children”.