Friday, April 30, 2010

Another Way to Help Haiti?

Today on the CNN website was an article about Mesh Gelman. He is a New York entrepreneur who wants to use Americans' passion for shopping to help Haiti and of course earn money. He isn't running a non-profit, he jokes. However, he thinks that reading "Made in Haiti" on t-shirt labels will encourage Americans to buy these products.

The Port-au-Prince factory was partially damaged in the quake and had also suffered due to political instability and trade embargoes, so it is not producing at full capacity. Today, the company supplies to WalMart, Old Navy and JC Penny. Gelman hopes that soon the unused sewing machines will be up and running again. Even though the workers do not get paid much, it is better than no job at all says one worker, Misere Cherlie.

In addition, production in Haiti results in much lower shipping costs than production in Aisa explains Gelman. He thinks that because of these things, this sector of the Haitian economy has a lot of hope. "Greed, [Gelman] says, half joking, can be a very good thing."

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