Although good intentioned, sending used items such as clothes and shoes, or even new mass-produced cheaply made items, to developing countries like Haiti makes it nearly impossible for indigenous entrepreneurs to stay in business. Skilled seamstresses and cobblers, for instance, can not support their families if their prospective customers are getting free handouts. In addition, many donated items end up being resold on the street at prices that, compared to the cost of a skilled craftsman’s materials and labor, may as well be free.
Good intentions are not good enough! PEARLS in Haiti is committed to the procurement of personnel, services, supplies and equipment from local or indigenous sources whenever possible. Local procurement leads to greater income generation at the community level and helps create more sustainable local economies. With more than two-thirds of the labor force in Haiti unemployed, offering income generating opportunities in Bonnette is imperative.
Director Exius, in collaboration with PEARLS in Haiti, employs women from the village to cook meals for 300 students and faculty on school days through the PEARLS of Nourishment feeding program. Fresh ingredients are used as much as possible. Instead of imported US Southern long-grain rice, locally grown pitimi and corn meal are prepared benefiting local farmers and their families. The Village School of the Future also uses local seamstresses to make the uniforms.