Seven years ago the Vi Bella story began with one mission trip to Haiti by our Founder and CEO Julie Hulstein. After experiencing up-close the desperate poverty and lack of jobs, she traveled back to the United States determined to do what she could to empower and employ the families that she had met.
With steady resolve, she and a growing team of volunteers began the first steps necessary to develop Vi Bella’s mission and creating more beautiful lives began to become a reality, for the first artisans and all those associated with Vi Bella in the United States. Just about a year after that first trip, Vi Bella began giving jobs, and rather than hiring trained artisans, we identified those who needed work and began the task of training them in jewelry making.
Today not only do we have two centers in Haiti, but also a center in Mexico, providing much-needed employment while creating gorgeous jewelry that is literally changing whole communities.
This month we have reason to celebrate! July marks six years of employment and empowerment for our Haitian artisans! What a journey it has been- witnessing the artisans learn more and more difficult techniques, forming community, watching the artisans’ children grow up, and experiencing the full-circle impact of this job-creation ministry.
Julie recently celebrated this anniversary with Vi Bella artisans with a day at the beach. This was an opportunity to relax, laugh, share gratitude and just plain have fun. Our artisans work so hard all year round and this day is a joyful celebration.
Julie was also able to join Vi Bella partner group, Three Cords, when they celebrated their beach day.
In addition to the fun beach day, Julie presented each artisan with a certificate for their fine work and recognized the gifts in each person who is part of this beautiful circle.
It’s awe-inspiring and humbling to glance back at all that God has accomplished through this job-creation ministry over the last six years. Here are just a few ways Vi Bella is creating beautiful lives:
- All Vi Bella’s artisan’s children attend school
- Vi Bella centers provided safe, encouraging work environments and either a meal is served each day, or artisans are given extra pay to purchase their own noon meal.
- Artisans have been able to vastly increase their living conditions through the steady employment through Vi Bella. Some have been able to repair their homes and with the help of Vi Bella friends, some have even built homes.
- Artisans and their families have formed a strong community of prayerful support.
- Artisans attend Bible studies
- Vi Bella has grown and now employs 55 full time artisans
- Artisans are empowered to give back and support others in their communities. (One powerful example of this was the meal that they served to more than 200 hungry families in their own community.
All of our artisans are consistently learning new skills such as bead weaving and tackling new designs with each collection.
Our family of ambassadors is growing too! Join us now and help support the many families that the Vi Bella artisans represent.
We are thrilled to be working on the Fall 2017 collection and eager to launch brand new designs and stories in September. Thank you for being part of the beautiful story over the last six years. Let’s continue to walk together and strive to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.