Thirty-five energetic and self-starting women of Chermaitre have come together to form a co-operative to provide a space of solidarity, develop their business-related skills, and better their livelihoods.
The newly-formed women’s initiative grew out of focus group discussions held with the women of Chermaitre during March 2012 and 2013. There, they shared their life stories of economic and personal struggles, and how they raised their families with incredible strength.
Planned projects include setting up a co-operative structure led and organized by the women where they have opportunities to learn business-related skills in order to supplement their income, a designated community space as well as the materials to conduct basic women’s outreach and basic literacy lessons.
DEVELOPING THE COOPERATIVE
Since their formation, they have been growing coffee, producing peanut butter, as well as making fabrics, handcrafts and jewelry for sale in regional and U.S. markets. This year, VHP successfully began selling their richly aromatic organic coffee, hand-sewn napkins and artfully beaded earrings at our Haitian art and handcraft sales. We are very heartened by the results so far. They have asked us for our support in kickstarting their operations and purchasing more supplies and equipment so that Femmes de Chermaitre can get up and running on a larger scale!
"women are the backbone of lifE
...women are everything"
Femmes de Chermaitre secretary
The full impact of a successful women’s cooperative is immeasurably large and interconnected with all aspects of life in Chermaitre. We are certain that their growth will reverberate through the entire community: they will be able to afford and grow more food for their families, send their children to school, and realize their goals of sustainable, thriving livelihoods.
Watch our latest crowdfunding campaign video!
Current Projects & Goals
Solar-Powered Sewing Machines
Vassar Haiti Project hopes to provide solar-powered sewing machines to the women's cooperative so they can expand the products they produce and grow their business. Ultimate goals for the women are to have a thriving business completely separate from VHP, and opening up their own bakery.