Trade, Not Aid

Tragedies happen around the world every day. And with the improvements in technology, and especially social media, cries of help can be heard from far across the oceans. When these tragedies strike, charitable donations pour in from every corner, until our attention is averted somewhere else. Although initial fundraising  was enormous, the world has moved on to supporting other tragedies like Japan and stable income is hard to come by. Heart of Haiti’s goal is to continue helping those in Haiti by allowing them to continue their passion for art and support their families.

Heart of Haiti’s motto is Trade, not Aid. After the terrible earthquake in 2010, Haitians had huge barriers to overcome to continue to make a living. Because of the destruction, raw materials have been wiped out, sanitary conditions are poor, and transportation is difficult. 

Through this initiative, Haitian artisans produce home goods and jewelry from available materials which are in turn sold by Macy’s. Artisans receive 22 percent of the retail price for each item in the collection. This initiative offers the first sustainable income since the earthquake, enabling artisans to repair homes, pay school fees and feed and clothe their families. With steady income comes better nutrition, improved education and access to healthcare. Master artisans who planned to leave the country are now staying behind to train the next generation.

One of these artists, Onel Bagdais, said that Heart of Haiti allows him to send his son to college, a dream that many Americans share. Heather Whaling, a blogger who traveled with Heart of Haiti to meet with some of these artisans said, “One of the metal workers explained it, the Heart of Haiti program helped him provide healthcare for his family and send his kids to school for the first time.”

One woman asked Whaling not to let people “forget” about Haiti. 

For more information about the Heart of Haiti initiative, join the #pr20Chat on Tuesday, April 26, 8 ET/ 7 C on cause giving featuring @heartofhaiti.
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via Flickr by Wonderlane


Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

Good idea.

Charles B.
Charles B6 years ago

Sounds like a wonderful idea but I find that 22% is a little low...

Priscilla G.
Priscilla G6 years ago

Sounds like a practical idea to help them get back on their feet

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

gerlinde p.
gerlinde p6 years ago

sounds like a great idea. but i`m sure macy`s could pay more than the 22%

Dana W.
Dana W6 years ago

Programs like Heart of Haiti are important because they enable people to become self-sufficient. As the author rightly points out, outside aid can be insufficient, misdirected, and eventually runs out whenthe next disaster comes along.

John S.
Past Member 6 years ago

Thanks, "Trade not aid" is good but doesn't address the problems of most countries have. Each year, the World Bank publishes a report called Doing Business, which includes a ranking of countries based on the relative difficulty for local citizens to launch and maintain businesses. The report clearly illustrates that countries that receive the most foreign aid have the highest cost of entry for entrepreneurs.

The Marshal plan implemented after WW2 made loans to European businesses in the form of production inputs: seeds to farmers and machines for factories, for example. The businesses repaid the loans, in cash, to local governments, which in turn invested the repaid funds in rebuilding public and commercial infrastructure, such as ports and roads. At the same time, pro-business policy reforms were implemented.

Microfinance can be a catalyst for entrepreneurship, but it doesn't address the problems encountered when starting a formally-recognized business can require months of waiting, and paying enormous fees, including bribes, to numerous government agencies.

Melissah C.
Melissah C6 years ago


Danielle Herie
Danielle Herie6 years ago


Parvez Z.
Parvez Zuberi6 years ago

Thanks for the interesting article