FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kelly O’Brien
Marking Fifth Anniversary of the Earthquake In Haiti: Progress and Hope
Statement by Julie Colombino, CEO Deux Mains Designs/REBUILD globally
Monday, January 12, 2015— On this fifth anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake that hit Haiti, Deux Mains Designs and our nonprofit partner REBUILD globally mark this day with hope. Little did we know that a trip to assist with relief efforts would inspire a sustainable business that helps Haitian’s thrive.
After the earthquake, Haiti’s unemployment rate spiked from 9.61 percent to 40.60 percent. More than 2 million where left homeless.
While assisting with the immediate relief efforts in the wake of the disaster, it became clear that there was a long-term situation that needed to be addressed; people desperately needed dignified, living-wage employment. Helping survivors find jobs that supported their families, paid for housing and economically recover from the disaster in a sustainable way—that was my challenge.
Deux Mains Designs, a social enterprise, is doing exactly that. Today, Deux Mains Designs employs Haitian craftsmen and women to make high-quality sandals from upcycled tires, paying a living wage that has enabled all of Deux Mains employees to move into safe and secure housing, send their children to school without outside aid, and have medical insurance for themselves and their families. Three of the Haitian management staff has ownership in the newly registered Haitian business. Apprenticeship opportunities are provided for vulnerable youth.
To mark the anniversary of the earthquake, as well as our local Haitian business that launched in its wake, today we announce a unique collaboration with Kenneth Cole. The “Love-Haiti Sandals” (for him and her), crafted by Deux Mains artisans, are now available at KennethCole.com as well as select Kenneth Cole retail stores nationwide. This is a very big step forward for our business and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with such an iconic brand.
There is much to be done in Haiti, and the statistics of unemployment, homelessness, and poverty remain sobering. `Many will discuss the work that remains – and we echo these calls for more action. But we also mark this day with signs of hope, ownership, pride, progress, and a determination to expand our quality products to markets around the world – creating more jobs and opportunities for people in Haiti.
Deux Mains Designs is a for-profit social enterprise incorporated in Haiti. The company employs Haitians to make sandals from tires and other materials found in the destruction of the city. The sandals are sold in Haiti as well as online. http://deuxmains.com
REBUILD globally, the nonprofit arm of the Deux Mains, works to end poverty and empower citizens in Haiti by supporting education and employment opportunities. http://rebuildglobally.org