As many of you know I am in Haiti through my university's study abroad program. Today we visited the social enterprise of REBUILD Globally, Deux Mains Designs. The work done by Deux Mains Designs is incredible! Deux Mains Design creates shoes and accessories using locally sourced leather and recycled tires.
REBUILD Globally founder, Julie visited Haiti after the earthquake in 2010. After chatting with locals she learned that people wanted jobs to be able to lift themselves out of poverty and homelessness. In 2010 Julie founded the non-profit REBUILD Globally to fight poverty through education and job training. This non-profit works to replace charitable aid with life long skills allowing individuals to support themselves. In 2015 REBUILD Globally launched their own social enterprise, Deux Mains Designs. The products are handmade and crafted with upcycled tires and high quality leather. Employees are paid fairly and treated with respect. Deux Mains Designs pays 220% of the minimum full time Haitian wage and has employed over 25 full time employees. Three of the employees are managers and have ownership in the company.
Head shoe designer and cobbler, Erony spoke with us about his job. He spoke about the difficulty of competing with free. When developed countries donate goods to the Haitian community, this actually hurts their economy. Why would the locals go out and buy goods if they could have it for free? A key aspect of rising out of poverty is employment and working to purchase items and support other local businesses.
As upcycled fashion is becoming more trendy, brands such as Kenneth Cole have been collaborating with Deux Mains Designs to create shoes and accessories. However, I encourage you to shop directly. Of course I had to support this wonderful business. On the right is my friend Rachel rocking the Bel Nanm Sandals in blue and I am wearing the Anne sandals in cognac. We can tell you these sandals are very comfortable and incredibly well made.