On October 4, 2016 Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti causing total devastation. The 145 mph winds smashed concrete walls, flattened palm trees and tore roofs off homes. According to Haiti Libre, 14,530 people were displaced, 2,703 families affected and 1,885 houses flooded. All this in a very poor nation still not recovered from the horrendous damage done by the 2010 earthquake there.
For Yvette Jenkins, founder and owner of Love Travels Imports, the hurricane’s devastation wasn’t just horrific, it was personal. She works with some artisans in Haiti who hand-make a few of Love Travels Imports product lines, such as the Love Travels pouch. She brings their wares to sell in Detroit helping them earn money. Her goal is to help lift them out of poverty and create sustainable businesses in their neighborhoods.
She is collecting donations of umbrellas to give to those women. The goal is to collect 40 portable umbrellas.
“When I asked what they needed, I expected to be told aqua tabs or something drinking water related,” she says. “However, I was surprised to find out umbrellas was what they asked for and needed. Currently, they share two or three umbrellas among 40 women.”
If you can donate an umbrella please drop it off or mail it to Love Travels Imports, 19452 Livernois Avenue in Detroit. Hours are Wednesday – Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. You can also call (313) 623-5800 to make donation arrangements.
The women have also requested a little rechargeable handheld projector to help a mobile Maker Library program get to remote areas. Education cannot go by the wayside.
“It becomes very challenging for them to lug around a big generator and gasoline to be able to show films. A projector screen completes their request,” Jenkins says.
With the sale of each Love Travels pouch, $1 is donated to the Maker Library project in Fond des Blanc, Haiti.
Jenkins will head to Haiti in January to deliver the umbrellas and meet with artisans who make some of her product lines.
“The name Love Travels Imports comes from many things … my love of travel … exploration … the earth … and, most importantly, my love of others and the meaningful impact we can have on people’s lives,” she says on her website.
Established in 2013, Jenkins’ company is located on the Livernois “Avenue of Fashion.” It imports fair-trade, handcrafted work from artisans not only in Haiti but also in South Africa, Madagascar and other places as well as showcases and sells the work of local artists.
Fair trade is a commitment to create greater equity in the international trading system by making sure producers in developing countries are paid a fair price for their work and are able to develop sustainable businesses. It develops a direct, cooperative, in-depth relationship between buyers and sellers who always puts fair trade first.
“With their strong commitment to handmade items and fair labor standards, Detroiters naturally resonate with the artisans in developing countries who are trying to better their lives through their hand-crafted wares,” Jenkins says in a previous Detroit Unspun story.
Her work has taken her many places where she has helped pull many women out of poverty and given them purpose. Some have been able to move from tin shacks to nice homes.
Jenkins’ love is traveling again — to Haiti, and it will again make difference.
The umbrella donations can be dropped off or mailed to Love Travels Imports at 19452 Livernois Avenue in Detroit. Hours are Wednesday – Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Also, you can call (313) 623-5800 to make donation arrangements.
– Top photo: Home of one of the artisans being repaired.