The Stitching Angels
Stitching Angels began in January 2014 with personal interviews and an assessment of the needs of the women of Macary. At that time, they were struggling to support their families through whatever means they could find; several of the women grew bananas and sold them in the local market while others purchased secondhand clothing, fixed it up, and resold it. Most of the women were supporting children as single mothers, and many of them were also caring for additional relatives, such as elderly parents. What the women all had in common was that they were finding it difficult to make ends meet without a steady, reliable source of income.
Over the past three years, the Stitching Angels program has been a process of trial and error as we've searched for products and a process that would develop the women's abilities and would put the power and responsibility into the women's hands themselves. Several of the women had sewing skills, which they were able to hone and share with other ladies in the group. These skills have developed into a line of hand-sewn and embroidered dresses and headbands that we are currently selling in the United States.
Most recently, in January 2017, we have seen the most exciting development of Stitching Angels to date. We visited several local resorts and were able to negotiate contracts with two of them. These resorts will now be carrying Stitching Angels products in their gift shops, including a new line of swimsuit cover-ups and other beachwear. Our goal is to create relationships with more resorts and hotels in the area, giving the women a local market in addition to the one that we have already established in the United States.
This new stage of our program has come at a perfect time, as Angel Project Haiti is undergoing some major changes. After serving on-ground in Macary for the past four years, Nadege St-Hilaire, our missionary, is being called back to the United States. As a result, it is the perfect time for Stitching Angels to become a locally run program that we can support and encourage stateside. The leadership roles will be taken over by local Haitian women in our program, and we will continue to raise funds, sell products, and cover administration from Chicago. The women of Stitching Angels are excited for this new chapter, and they have chosen a president, secretary, and treasurer to lead the group. These women will be using the business and management skills they have been learning to oversee the production of goods, the transport to the resorts, and the purchase of new materials. The Angel Projects, besides playing a supporting role, will continue to visit the Stitching Angels once a year to develop new product lines and host our annual women's conference.