This weekend, Urban Zen will host an event showcasing the work of Haitian artisans in the Hamptons, which will include items crafted by artisans from Papillon Enterprise.
Determined to help prevent child relinquishment in Haiti, Papillon Enterprise was founded in 2008 to give parents a chance to earn an income and be able to care for their children. In Haiti, as in so many developing countries, parents are often forced to give up their children to orphanages as they are unable to afford to raise and care for themselves. We began as a small jewelry makers guild with only a handful of young mothers in training, making simple jewelry to sell and sustain our operation. Over the past five years, we have grown to a successful small-business with almost 200 artisans on payroll working in a variety of creative art forms such as pottery, paper making, jewelry making, sewing, metal art and more. Our goal of providing income for families is being realized as the artisans stories are emerging and confirming that they are now able to buy land, send their kids to school, and have enough food on the table each day. Today, Papillon Enterprises and the artisans who have built it are flourishing. One example of this strength and success is Makilene.
Makilene came to our gate, after having traveled from Cap Haitian to Port Au Prince, a full day’s journey on often rough roads, with a new baby in her arms. She thought we were an orphanage and was looking for a place to put her newborn, unable to afford to care for the new baby herself. Rather than having to give that baby up, Papillon enterprises was able to offer Makilene a job with a stable income. Just three years later she is the proud owner of a two room home on her own land and all six of her kids are in school. She is a determined woman and a hard worker and has changed her life radically by the opportunity to be able to work. The Clinton Foundation has come alongside Papillon Enterprise through consultation, friendship, ongoing education in business in Haiti and most importantly a generous grant that has enabled us to expand our ceramics and pottery division as well as buy a generator that keeps us in production regardless of the current status of city power in the neighborhood. We are receiving significantly larger orders regularly and expanding to new buyers and new markets and we know that it is through this support that we can continue to fill those orders.
Small businesses in Haiti face many challenges, but Papillon Enterprises has shown that it is possible to succeed and make a powerful impact.
In a country like Haiti, with so much unemployment, the importance of a good, long-term job, cannot be overestimated. Small businesses in Haiti face many challenges, but Papillon Enterprises has shown that it is possible to succeed and make a powerful impact. Makilene and her 200 artisan colleagues are an everyday reminder of what is possible. We hope to be a company that can showcase to the world the creativity and hard work of the Haitian people for years to come, and with the support of the Clinton Foundation and so many others we are realizing those dreams.