One of the items Trades of Hope carries is the Haiti Signature Bracelet. It is made primarily of Haitian clay and cereal boxes. A woman named Shelley Clay is responsible for finding such beauty and opportunity behind something that seemingly had no value.
Shelley is the director of a nonprofit organization in Haiti, the “Apparent Project,” which exists to give job skills to heads of household, usually women, in order to prevent child relinquishment. From the success of the Apparent Project, came the creation of a social business, “Papillon Enterprise”, which translates those new creative skills into sustainable jobs. She runs an artisan center in Port Au Prince, Haiti. Papillon sells its artisan goods all over the world, including to Trades of Hope.
Shelley wanted to use a material that was inexpensive for the jewelry as she is in the business of job creation. There was jewelry being made of paper beads in Africa, but she wanted something that would be distinctive to Haiti. She began playing around with the idea of using cereal boxes, and the idea took off! Now, her artisan group goes through approximately 400 cereal boxes per day, and each artisan can roll upwards of 1,000 beads per day!!! Due to the color variation and quantity needed, she had to appeal to people here in the U.S. to get involved, which they have by sending old cereal boxes which otherwise would have been thrown away.
The results have been amazing as well. Her artisan group makes an average of $15.00 per day versus the $1.00 per day for the average Haitian. Many are building homes and buying land. There are also literacy and computer programs, as well as daycare services. Most importantly, mothers are able to keep their children instead of giving them to an orphanage.
After learning the story behind the Haiti Signature Bracelet, I am so thankful to have the opportunity to wear it and market it as a Compassionate Entrepreneur.
If you would like to watch a video of how the cereal box beads are made, please click here.