Combating Poverty in Haiti with a Distinctive Answer: Gem Faceting

Haiti has had a highlight concentrating on their nationwide strife for many years. Many of the protection has been targeted on how torn and damaged the nation and individuals are after pure disasters, in addition to how Haiti’s lack of funds is stopping clean-up.

In response to The New York Occasions, Haiti has been devastated by intensive flooding, 5 hurricanes and an earthquake between 2004 and 2016. Attributable to a poorly performing agricultural sector broken by pure disasters, the Haitian GDP slowed to 1.2 % in 2017. In response to surveys, 59 % of Haitians reside under the poverty line of $2.41 per day. Moreover, 24 % reside under the intense poverty line of $1.23 per day. Since it’s well-known that Haiti is likely one of the poorest nations on the earth, many individuals and organizations have reached out to the nation to supply help. One school professor has discovered a novel and sustainable method to fight poverty in Haiti.

Dr. Bridge’s Give attention to Haiti

Dr. Steven Bridge is a professor of Theology at Saint Joseph’s Faculty of Maine. He has been the chief and coordinator for the annual Worldwide Service Journeys since their inception in 2003. Saint Joseph’s Faculty collaborates with Companions in Improvement (PID), a corporation that has employees on the bottom in Haiti.

The Borgen Challenge was capable of interview Dr. Bridge about service journeys particularly in Haiti. Dr. Bridge acknowledged, “SJC is celebrating our 15th yr of Worldwide Service Journeys to Haiti with PID… It’s a holistic strategy that ensures that probably the most weak of kids have fundamental entry to meals, medical care, and schooling; their households have clear, wholesome, and steady residing environments; and their mother and father can faucet monetary assets for the expansion and growth of their small-businesses or job coaching.”

After attending these journeys for a number of years, Dr. Bridge started exploring ways in which he might additional battle poverty in Haiti. “My preliminary plan was to see if I might get a few of them to the US and assist them receive school levels. However that proved too troublesome for quite a lot of causes. So I noticed that if I used to be going to attempt to deal with this drawback, it must contain bringing the coaching and alternatives to them.”

The Answer: Gem Faceting

A plan started forming in Dr. Bridge’s thoughts: “About 10 years in the past, I discovered to aspect gems utilizing semi-precious tough (clear & smoky quartz, amethyst, aquamarine, and tourmaline)… Whereas on a service journey in Guatemala, I discovered a discarded shard of lovely cobalt-colored glass and determined to strive faceting it. It turned out rather well.”

Talking with the Haitians, Dr. Bridge realized that their need was for monetary self-sufficiency, schooling and job alternatives. “I stumble on the concept of faceting gems from discarded glass. I noticed that if I might donate a machine and practice some employees, then we’d have the makings of a small-business initiative.” PID supplied Dr. Bridge with a small office, employees and the mandatory energy to run the gear he wanted. They then started faceting glass into stunning jewellery and have been in enterprise ever since.

Essentially the most good a part of this operation is its sustainability. Whereas not for everybody, gem faceting is a ability that may be taught to many individuals, and because the enterprise grows, extra machines and staff may be plugged in. Most significantly, there’ll by no means be a scarcity of glass waste as uncooked materials. “We now have a Haitian employee who has grow to be fairly expert and proficient at faceting. She has grow to be the Basic Supervisor of this operation as a salaried worker… This challenge has modified her life dramatically, as she now has a reliable, common revenue which allows her to assist her household. We even have a number of different gem-cutters on the payroll who’re capable of earn good wages as they proceed to hone their abilities and fulfill orders.”

These “orders” that he refers to are from an internet site that PID helped set as much as promote the Jewellery made by the Haitians and Dr. Bridge. It’s an Etsy web site that has been fairly profitable. The web retailer additionally options crafts from Guatemala and different nations the place PID has had an affect.

Trying Ahead

Lastly, Dr. Bridge spoke to the way forward for the operation. “I’m now within the midst of a 3-year College Improvement Grant funded by SJC that’s designed to assist take this small enterprise initiative to the subsequent degree. For the 2017-18 faculty yr, we absolutely funded the development of a model new Lapidary Arts Heart within the PID compound in Haiti. This new Heart, which formally opens in December, will present much-needed house for the enlargement of our program. Along side its opening, PID is including a second faceting machine to assist enhance manufacturing. For the 2018-19 faculty yr, we’ll be specializing in rising the profile of our product with a extra strong advertising and marketing marketing campaign. And in 2019-20, we hope so as to add a 3rd machine to spice up not solely manufacturing, but additionally job coaching alternatives for the Haitians. If the buyer demand is there, we might conceivably present full-time employment for as much as 18 Haitians with these three machines within the new Lapidary Arts Heart.”

This might equate to 18 Haitians not residing under the poverty line whereas serving to to scrub up waste and create stunning, hand-crafted jewellery. Combating world poverty is available in many kinds, however few are as distinctive and sustainable because the Gem Faceting initiative by Dr. Bridge and PID.

– Zachary Farrin

Picture: Flickr

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