Papillon Enterprises from Haiti
Haiti has been rebuilding from the ground up since the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck in 2010 and killed over 200,000 people and displaced 1.5 million on this small island nation. In the face of few job prospects, a resourceful group created Papillon Enterprises, a socially and ecologically conscious business with its mission of stimulating the Haitian economy by exporting and marketing Haitian artisan goods.
They've been making this dream possible by putting Haitian artisans to work using their creativity along with recycled materials to craft jewelry from paper, clay, and glass beads, and home decor from discarded oil drums.
Artisans like Similien, (lower right corner) who is in her mid-twenties and has been an artisan with Papillon for five years, are able to make a living and support their families. Similien grew up in Port-au-Prince, but was forced to quit school at 9th grade because of unexplainable headaches. This is her first job and she hopes one day to own her own business -- until then she continues to work hard for Papillon and graces her co-workers with her amazing smile.
In a work environment that is family-friendly, Papillon emphasizes keeping the whole person's unique needs in mind. They offer competitive wages (three times the minimum wage), medical benefits, language and literacy lessons, and professional development, as well as the ability for nursing mothers to bring their babies with them. Through a partnership with Apparent Project, they also offer their workers onsite daycare. Papillon's symbol of the butterfly is fitting, for they create something new out of something transformed to beauty and, in turn, their lives become "something that we never thought possible."