Vi Bella has had an amazing summer in Haiti and we want to share the news with you!
In addition to our two centers there, one in Simonette, and one in Arcahaie, we opened a Vi Bella store on the Mission of Hope campus. This organization has been so generous in providing the construction of the space and display furniture made out of pallets. Having space on their campus is a true gift.
This story begins with a hoop shed located on the property of Mission of Hope. This space was originally set up and used as a triage hospital for people injured in the earthquake of 2010. As patients and their families waited for medical help, Diana Cherry, a missionary and staff member at Mission of Hope, began passing out scraps of donated cloth and many began braiding the fabric into headbands to pass the time. As some began to wear these creations, interest grew, Diana was inspired to begin selling them, pouring the income back into the needs of Haitian people.
Three Cords Haiti began and has grown into a business that employs Haitian artisans as seamstresses, many of whom suffered great loss in the earthquake, now employing many amputees and those least empowered to obtain employment.
Fast forward seven years and this barn has been completely transformed! After sitting vacant as a storage space for several years, the Mission of Hope offered the space for a store that could showcase Vi Bella and Three Cords products, along with locally made metal art.
Julie Hulstein, Vi Bella’s Founder and CEO with Diana Cherry, 3 Cords Founder
Julie Hulstein and a team of volunteers took on the task of cleaning, painting pallets, building display areas, and eventually loading in products that could be showcased to the many visitors to Mission of Hope. The area is bustling with mission groups that visit Haiti on various short-term mission trips.
A Vi Bella ambassador, Kelly Graham, volunteered to spend 10 weeks in Haiti to get the store running and operational. Her passion for job-creation and deep love for the Haitian people has been so apparent. Not only have we sold products, we have recruited many new ambassadors who are now social entrepreneurs and storytellers back in the United States, selling products and building their own businesses.
Now, in addition to participating in short-term projects in Haiti, visitors from the United States can purchase products and also express interest in becoming a Vi Bella Ambassador, furthering the mission and impact on Haitian artisans and their communities.
We are thrilled to now have this redeemed space that holds a story of redemption to further the work of both Vi Bella and 3 Cords. As you can see, the resulting transformation is beautiful.
We pray that this space is one more avenue for others to engage in, and become part of the solution of long-term employment in Haiti that is creating beautiful lives.