Local-Global: Macy’s helps Haitian Artists

Thanks to a friend from the DR (who is now elsewhere) for pointing this out.

Seems Macy’s is once again showing that companies can help people affected by disaster and make a profit.

And it provides an opportunity for LOCAL reporters to do a story with a GLOBAL hook.

The Globe and Mail of Toronto had a story yesterday about how Macy’s will be selling the work of Haitian artists. (Haitian artisans strike deal to sell work at Macy’s)

Being able to sell stuff at Macy’s has made it possible for those participating to afford clothes and education for their children and given some hope to the people of Haiti.

“Even in a short time, we’ve heard that parents who were incredibly stressed now have their children’s school fees. Now they can buy shoes. They have money in their pocket. Maybe they’re still living in a tent. But they know they can have some bit of security to craft a life. They know we’re not going away,” said Willa Shalit, the head of Fairwinds Trading, a New York-based company that specializes in connecting gifted artisans in “post-trauma” communities with American corporations to build sustainable economic relationships.

This is not the first time Macy’s offered the work of a group of people affected by disaster.

When the United Nations and NGOs started efforts to rebuild Rwanda after the genocidal wars of the late 1990s, organizers saw the women weaving beautiful baskets.

In 2002 Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women reached out to American businesswoman Willa Shalit to help find a market for the baskets. Within three years she founded the Rwanda Path to Peace project in partnership with Macy’s.

Macy’s featured the baskets in their stores across the country. The basket sales provided sustainable income to women who had never before earned money.

See the full story here: Rwanda Baskets

How hard would it be for a LOCAL reporter to go to the LOCAL Macy’s and ask the store manager how well the Haitian art is selling?

How hard would it be to maybe track down a buyer or two of the art to ask about why they bought it?

The story would, of course, have to include what has happened in Haiti since the earthquake eight months ago. It would have to include not only the Macy’s artist project but a brief summary of other efforts to help rebuild Haiti. And ideally it should include what LOCAL groups did and are still doing to help the Haitian people. (Think local NGOs, churches, civic groups, etc.)

Really, how hard would this be?

And it gets an important international story out with a very local angle.

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Filed under Connections, International News Coverage, Story Ideas

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