• Haiti is pronounced [Hā-tee]
  • The population of Haiti is 10.7 Million. The average Haitian makes $400 a year. 
  • Haiti had this century’s worst natural disaster in the form of an earthquake in 2010, with an estimated death toll of 230,000. 

Trades of Hope works with up-cycled cereal box beads, clay beads, and steel art artisans. Our work in Haiti is helping with the orphan crisis by providing parents with a sustainable business so that they can keep their children and raise them with dignity! These artisans spin beads out of recycled cereal boxes and mold beads out of clay, the same clay that the Haitian poor eat when starving. They are turning what was full of brokenness into a symbol of hope and healing.
The Haitian steel art is developed out of used oil drums — of which Haiti has a surplus. This craft originated when Haitians tried to make something to mark their loved one’s graves. Today, this steel art is a part of Haiti’s culture and gives them the job opportunity to improve the lives of families.


Ismaella describes her life before Trades of Hope as routine. She used to spend her days helping her mother with various embroidery projects but now feels like she has found her second home at our partnered artisan group in Haiti. She loves seeing everybody at the workshop and this experience has helped her discover herself. She is now economically independent and loves being empowered enough to help others too. Ismaella shares about her own experience below.

“It [has] helped me see my capacity and the capacity of others. It has helped me discover myself. It is very amazing to see things that we see daily in our neighborhood that we don’t consider [and make] them into beautiful things. As a young Haitian woman, it makes [us] proud of what we can make [because] we can promote our culture to other countries. It makes me proud because people can see good things about my country. It makes me more patient too. My time here makes me love people more, appreciate them and understand them.”


Before joining the artisan group in Haiti, Shirly had a difficult childhood. She is the oldest child in her family and was raised by her mother, aunt and uncle. Like the majority of Haitians, she grew up poor. Her hard-working, resourceful mother kept various jobs in order to provide for the family, even taking jobs that took her away from her kids for weeks at a time. The earthquake of 2010 destroyed all they had. Shirley’s mom sent her to an orphanage twice and sent her brother away too. She wanted the best for her kids but couldn’t provide for them. She kept working hard and promised she would return for them.

After their reunion, Shirly started slowly working with our artisan group. At first, it was very difficult for her. She remembered all her mom’s sacrifices and mustered the motivation to try out for a more advanced job of bead roller. She advanced and began growing into new opportunities. Shirly says of her job, “My life was really stressful before I was working … it has made a huge positive impact in my life.  I have hope and do believe some of my dreams can come true. I am confident and can do so many things I didn’t imagine I would do … Most of all, I am independent!” She has a heart for the homeless people and wants to have enough money and freedom to help as many people as possible, and find ways to give them opportunities that, like her, they never imagined. Shirly is now a happy, joyful mother of her own adorable son Marvin Lee. 



  1. www.haitihealthministries.org
  2. www.haitihealthministries.org
  3. http://www.tulane.edu