Artisan Conversation: a Mother and Daughter Flourish in Haiti
International Women’s Day is for every woman. It’s for celebrating our differences as much as our similarities, for cheering each other on, for spotlighting our accomplishments, and for recognizing the social, economic, and cultural achievements of women everywhere.
At Noonday, we believe that investing in women has the potential to transform entire communities. Around 74% of the Artisans who make your favorite pieces are women! In honor of this special day, we had the chance to speak with Kavakia, an Artisan who makes beautiful Haitian jewelry and accessories for Noonday, about how she and her mother, Vedette, have both been able to rise above their challenges and create a path for themselves in Haiti.
Kavakia and Vedette Share Their Story on International Women’s Day
Thank you for chatting with us, Kavakia! How long have you and your mother been working as a jeweler and seamstress for Noonday Collection’s Artisan Business Partner in Haiti?
What does your job mean for you and your family?
My job means so much for me. Before I began working at Haiti Design Co. (Noonday’s Artisan Business Partner), whenever I needed something, I always had to rely on my mom. That is hard as you grow into an age where that shouldn’t be your only option. But now that I have a job of my own, I can save my own earnings for what I need. Not only that, but I can join together with my mom to help with projects that we decide on together.
What are some challenges that women in Haiti face today?
Women are treated quite poorly in Haiti. The two biggest things that come to mind when I think about the challenges that Haitian women face is that women aren’t given importance in my culture and how absent fathers have created an immense burden on mothers. Women grow up learning to depend on men to survive, and if they do find a partner, women are expected to do all they need to do with a tiny bit of money that is given to them. So, many fathers abandon their children and leave the task of parenting solely on the mother. Moms in Haiti are selfless, resilient, and work so hard. They take physically burdening jobs like selling charcoal or take whatever low-paying task they can find, like washing clothing. Women are actually the most important people in our society today, yet are treated the opposite.
Why is it important that women around the world have equal opportunities?
Women should have equal opportunities as men. Women can do most of the things that men do, and we should be able to receive the opportunity to prove that. A lot of times, men live and believe that women cannot live without them or that women can’t get to where they want to go without a man. Women should be able to feel that they have a choice – that having a partner is a choice, and not an obligation.
What does it mean for your family to have the reliable work that Noonday Collection orders help provide?
I grew up without a dad. My mom was both [parents] for me. She worked incredibly hard to take care of me. This job has created something like a beam in our house. It keeps my family and my life strong and holds everything in place. Men always seem to be the superstars in the family, but not mine. My mom and me get to be the superstars of our family.
We asked your mother, Vedette, what she hopes for your future. Could you share her words with us?
She said, “I hope for her to be able to save her money from working, to prosper, and to have financial stability. I hope for her to not have to take the path I had of being a single mom. It was very hard, but [I hope] for her to be able to have a family and not have to carry the load by herself.”
Empowering Women Year-Round
International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to celebrate women around the globe while highlighting the work we still have to make sure all women have the opportunities they deserve. Every day, however, your purchase from Noonday Collection directly impacts women around the globe just like Kavakia and Vedette.
Those statement earrings you love have helped a mother become the breadwinner for her family. Your favorite necklace has helped send a little girl to school. Your purchase creates a growing marketplace for Artisans around the globe, which in turn helps communities, and the women within them, continue to rise out of poverty and flourish. That’s worth celebrating no matter the time of year!