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Bel Koz: from Haiti to Kennett Square

Bel Koz:  from Haiti to Kennett Square


I’m excited to share with you more of the “behind the scenes” work that goes into the beautiful goods sold at my shop and on this website. Every so often my blog will feature one of the companies I work with and the artisans behind those crafts. The first post of this kind is a profile of Bel Koz, written by Ruthie Wyshogrod of Jiri Creative. I hope you enjoy reading and come back to learn about more of the change makers and artisans whose goods are in my shop!



About Bel Koz 

Amy Andrade launched Bel Koz, which means “beautiful cause” in Haitian Creole, two years ago. She had been visiting Haiti for years and had formed relationships with artisans who were already established in the country. Through Bel Koz, Amy works with these local artisans to create and distribute their crafts. She works with artisan collectives that vary in size from 100 up to 250 people, and those people play a range of roles in the creative process: from preparing clay and filtering impurities, to rolling beads, to firing and glazing beads – oftentimes, dozens of hands can touch a single finished bracelet or necklace by the time that piece of jewelry reaches my shop in Kennett Square.


But beyond creating beautiful handmade jewelry and accessories, and providing dignified employment for the artisans, Bel Koz aims to give back to Haiti through partnerships with three non-profit organizations working on the ground:
Breath of Life is a maternal health center that provides midwifery care and also operates a teen program and school partnerships.
Middle Ground operates a malnutrition treatment center and provides sustainability training for families and a maternal health program.
Children of Promise is a sponsorship program through which Bel Koz is currently sponsoring three children in Calebasse, Haiti, paying their school tuition and providing nutritious food and healthcare.
So far in 2018, Bel Koz has given back over $50,000 to Haita, including artisan wages and donations to these non-profit organizations. “Haitians are helping Haitians”, Amy says, “I am just the middle man bringing the product to the consumer”. None of this would be possible without the purchase of this jewelry and accessories, so, Amy says, “thank you”.


Artisan Profile: Eliette


Eliette, pictured here, is one of the many artisans that Amy works with through Bel Koz. She is 40 years old. Eliette grew up in Jeremie, on the far southwest side of the Haiti, and currently lives in Boutilier with her husband and three daughters who are 5, 9, and 10. She likes to play with her kids but doesn’t have much to do to that since she leaves for work each day at 5am to arrive by 7:45. When she returns home it is time to prepare dinner and go to sleep. Eventually, Eliette would like to create another source of income for herself and move to a safer, cleaner area. She wants her children to finish primary school, attend university, get married, and become doctors or nurses. Mostly, she says, she wants what every parent wants for their children – to be happy. Like many of us, she wishes her life was a little easier, but is also deeply grateful for the job that she has, since job opportunities in Haiti are hard to come by.


Eliette works on all different jewelry styles and is part of the design team. She recently designed a line of custom-ordered bracelets for Clean Slate Goods! By continuing to purchase jewelry and accessories from companies like Bel Koz and others that we sell at Clean Slate Goods, you are directly supporting the livelihood of women like Eliette and their families.


About the author:

Ruthie Wyshogrod is a writer who spends her time pondering questions of identity, belonging, and peoplehood. She runs Jiri Creative, a storytelling and strategic communications business, and lives in Philadelphia.