Empowering Artisans of Haiti - 2nd Story Goods
In the past few weeks, we’ve developed a new relationship with 2nd Story Goods and we’re excited to now offer their latest products in our shop. Based in Haiti, 2nd Story Goods aims to recognize the skill, dignity, and value within each person and to help them see it in themselves. They provide doors of opportunity as they create jewelry, leather products, and home goods. Owner Kathy Brooke says, “Not everybody’s going to walk through these doors, and that’s ok. But for those who will, let's give them an opening--it’ll affect the whole community.”
Anite was introduced to 2nd Story Goods as a single mother weighing close to 75 pounds. Through employment with 2SG, she is now able to provide for her 4 children, one born with severe hydrocephalic symptoms, and another young girl whom she has recently taken in. Her work has allowed her to repeat a cycle of generosity.
“There’s an enemy of humanity that would have us think that as soon as we’re broken, we’re no good anymore. God tells the exact opposite story. He says, when you're broken it’s time for the new story to start,” says Kathy Brooke.
2nd Story Goods is helping their artisans start new stories and what a joy it is to take part in that, and in turn allow you, our customers, to be part of that story as well. Just weeks ago, in an email to her partners, Kathy shared a first-hand account that captures so well how their mission of providing dignified jobs can truly transform a life as well as an entire community. As I read it, I instantly knew this was a story I wanted to share with you:
“One day, a few years ago, I was traveling with Benson [who heads up journal production] to Port Au Prince in the car. I came to love these one on one times in the car with this young brilliant person. First he sleeps for an hour, but after that I can count on him for some great conversation. Now I’ve gotten to where I will pull out my phone hit record when he starts talking. But this one day we were driving along and he said to me:
Benson: Mk, do you know how to keep poor people poor?
Me: No Benson I can't say that I have ever thought about that. How do you keep poor people poor?
Benson: Give them everything they need.
Me: (thinking, what? where is he going with this?)
Benson: Give them food and clothes and houses. Give it to them and never ask them to do anything for it. That way they never develop their own capacity. That way they never grow and they will always need you. They will stay dependent on others and remain poor.
Me: (thinking to myself, sure wish I was recording this right now but if I pull over and turn on my recorder he will likely stop talking so freely.)
Benson: If you had come to Jubilee and met me and saw me as a young man from a poor family with many children and you had begun to bring clothes and food to our house, instead of seeing me as a young man who has skills and is intelligent with great capacity, where would I be today? Where would I be today? he asked again. I would not know my capacity to build a company and make beautiful products like this. I would not be who I am today, a leader in my community and a provider for my family.”
Reading a story like this leaves me so inspired and I hope it leaves you feeling inspired as well. Can we all take a challenge to make one small change this week? One change to slow down, and observe how our actions are affecting others. One change that reminds someone else, or even ourselves, of the goodness of a second story. Imagine what could happen if together we cheered on those around us to learn the value of their own story, just as 2nd Story Goods is doing in the lives of their Haitian artisans. True transformation could happen, for us as well as those around us. One change today, tomorrow, this week.... What small change will you choose to make? And when you act on that change, I'd love to hear your story, friend.
Curious to see more of 2nd Story Goods' current line of products? You can check them out here and in store in Kennett: