Gwen Whipple retired last year but decided to stay busy. The Seattle resident has a love both for fabrics and for the work One Hundred For Haiti is doing in Haiti. She recently decided to take her passion and transform it into a fundraising campaign for us. It was all her idea. Gwen makes handmade purses like the one shown below and has set a goal to sell one hundred of these for us. We asked her recently about the campaign and where her idea came from.
100FH: How did you get involved with sewing and how did the idea of the purses for Haiti project come together?
GWEN: It started about twenty years ago when I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Sacramento. Betty signed me up for a quilting class. I had no supplies but it was so exciting and fun. Once I started going to quilt shows I found fun patterns for bags and purses. I still get to put the colors together (my specialty) but the projects get to the finish line quicker. I got inspired hearing Greg Bennick speak recently in a keynote presentation at an event. His passion for the people of the country was intoxicating, and drunk on excitement I decided I could do something. I knew I was going to keep making these purses so I thought, wouldn’t it be great for the proceeds to go to a fund where the money is clearly helping people pick themselves up and have a better life? The next thing was to broaden my exposure so, with my new goal of one hundred purses for Haiti, I began networking.
100FH: How long does it take to make one purse?
GWEN: I often cut the fabric out one day and do the sewing the next day. If I worked on it straight through, it takes about 5-6 hours including the button and beading. I always have 4-5 fabric combinations lined up. I love it when I get requests for theme fabric (“can you make me one with owls?” or “My friend loves elephants, can you make one with elephants?”)
100FH: Why is this cause important to you?
GWEN: I trust that this money is in good hands and helping brighten lives. It started simply with clean water now those same people are asking for help to help themselves through conditions most of us have never had to endure. Life is good for me, how could I refuse this simple request to help? It is a win-win-win. I get to feed the creative side of my brain, someone gets to walk around with a new stylish purse knowing that the money spent is going to a great cause, and One Hundred for Haiti gets a new stream of money to fund programs.
Gwen had this to add about the purses:
“They are 8 1/2″ X 13″ tube top purses with plenty of pockets. They have four inside pockets for pens and credit cards, two full-width outside pockets with buttons on front and Velcro on back. The tube top is available for the stuff you really don’t want exposed and folds down to reveal the embellishments. The strap goes across your body and fits nicely on your hip. It has room in the back pocket for a Kindle (a nice bonus). I use mine for my full-time purse. It works great for travel and gambling as it can swing around and sit in your lap while you are on your favorite machine your money is close at hand…your hand no one else’s!”
To contact Gwen with questions, email her at: email@example.com
We are officially registered with Amazon.com’s non-profit “Smile” support program. This means that if you use the following link for your shopping at Amazon (it is the same Amazon experience, just with a different starting link other than simply “amazon.com”) then a percentage of all of your purchases will benefit One Hundred For Haiti!
Please share that link with your friends who use Amazon!
Our Rural Water Project campaign to save 15,000 lives from cholera is underway and already making an impact. This photo, just in from the tiny rural village of Haute Pont shows the first completed water tank. This tank catches water from a local natural spring, and once filled to the top is treated to kill deadly cholera bacteria. The man drinking from the tank is doing so knowing that the water, for the first time in years, is absolutely safe to drink. We are working with local people to build the tanks under the guidelines established by those local people along with our friends from Peacework Medical (an outstanding all-volunteer medical initiative with extensive knowledge about cholera and how to prevent it). One Hundred For Haiti provide the funds, and local Haitians do the work on behalf of their own communities. They know how to build the tanks and more importantly how to FIX the tanks themselves.
In the last few years we have seen so many overpriced water projects in Haiti that are ineffectively managed on the local level: these are projects which get built, often at extremely inflated cost to donors, and then if they break they can’t be fixed by local people. The Rural Water Project is entirely different. Our project is inexpensive, highly effective, and easily managed on the local level. This empowers people, and that is of value at the highest level.
Moto Logistics is working in Ranquitte Haiti. Meet Dimitche our newest driver in the Moto Logistics program! Your donations have changed his life and the lives of countless Haitians in his community. This is direct response action at work in the best possible way. Your donations funded the motos that are being used in the community, and in time the proceeds they raise will fund other motos to be purchased here and in other rural places.
One Hundred For Haiti is working, and you help make it possible through your generosity.
I am just back from fifteen days in Haiti and wanted to write a personal message to say thank you to all the donors who made the following things possible! If you missed any of our updates be sure to check the One Hundred For Haiti Facebook page to get caught up!
- In the first week of the trip, we (Michael Scott, One Hundred For Haiti supporter from Seattle) and I joined a group from Peacework Medical who do incredible work in Haiti by putting in medical clinics in extremely rural areas. We helped Peacework members with their new clinic in Gard Hiram (a tiny village near Ranquitte, a small town in the northeast of Haiti). We leveled the floors with dirt so that they could be flattened and cemented, helped build benches for the clinic, painted the walls, and most importantly: we established our Moto Logistics Program in the town of Ranquitte and the village of Gard Hiram so that patients can have better access to the clinic. These motos will save patient lives, give jobs to drivers, and help both communities be more mobile.
- We established a plan to save thousands of lives in the area around Ranquitte through our new Rural Water Project. Read more about it at the link and at the Rural Water Project link above. We are going to help save 12,000-15000 people from being exposed to cholera over the next few years with your help.
- After that week in Ranquitte, the medical / support team went home and I drove around solo around Haiti for eight additional days doing the following:
- In Port au Prince, my long-time friend Dr. Jacques Denis took me to the Centre de Sante Saint Martin II medical clinic to show me the security door that One Hundred For Haiti paid to have build and installed, the result of the new cement work that we paid to have Haitian skilled workers hired to do (so people wouldn’t fear cracks in the walls anymore, thinking that another earthquake would bring the building down if they were being treated) and most importantly, showed me the new sinks that had been installed. The clinic had never had running water before your donations made it possible! Total win.
- I met with our friends at the Kay Angel Orphanage in Jacmel and visited the children there. Many of the children of the orphanage have either been orphaned by AIDS or have HIV themselves, and I brought donated shoes for a few of the girls who needed them to wear to school, some yoga mats for a very physically challenged orphan there who needs them for comfort as he sits on the floor, and I talked to Gala (the new director) about the status and future of the orphanage as it transitions after the 2012 death of Lia van de Donk (former director and a dear personal friend).
- In the village of La Source, I met with Chrismedonne Lajeunesse who showed me the accounting statements for their VERY successful Moto Logistics Program progress. They have two motos running currently and are extremely happy with them. I also brought extensive medicines from the USA so that the village can be better prepared in the case of illness.
- I then drove five hours and met with Morgan Weinberg who is running an incredible program in Les Cayes in the southeast of Haiti. Morgan has involved herself directly with street youth there: former child slaves, abandoned kids, abused and neglected or worse. She has established a safe house there and One Hundred For Haiti will be providing barbed wire security for the entire grounds of the safe house to protect the children (and Morgan) as they live there. We will also be following up with last years successful Bikes for the Boys Program there (we bought each boy a bike to use and enjoy) by providing training for them to fix those bikes, thus learning a marketable skill in the process!
- Sarah Rolfe (One Hundred For Haiti core team member) was able to procure donations of medical supplies in the Seattle area which I delivered to the Centre de Sante Kenscoff medical clinic. Dr. Marie Denis, director of the clinic (and wife of Dr. Jacques Denis) put the supplies to use literally immediately as I was standing there. I have comments from Dr. Denis on video and will edit them in the near future.
Overall: it was an incredible trip. I am writing a detailed account of it now as I have had an offer to have that writing published! Stay tuned for details about that. For now, consider spreading the world about One Hundred For Haiti. Monthly recurring donations, in any amount, help so very much.
$10 per month from you and just four friends over one year buys us a water treatment tank for our Rural Water Project. Each tank costs $500-700 depending on how many families it serves.
$1800 total provides a salary for a full time nurse FOR A YEAR at the medical clinic in Gard Hiram.
We have ideas in mind for many projects, but it all starts with support. Thank you in advance for supporting the ongoing work that we will be doing!
For one time, single donations to One Hundred For Haiti simply paypal your donation to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use this button:
On January 18th 2014, One Hundred For Haiti Executive Director Greg Bennick is heading to Haiti, supported by the One Hundred For Haiti team back home in the USA and by the donations of people like you worldwide who have made the purchase of valuable supplies and strategic planning possible. The trip is going to be broken into two parts, each about one week long, outlined below:
During week one, Greg will travel to Ranquitte, in the north of Haiti, along with a group of medical professionals (and a principal donor to One Hundred For Haiti) in order to finish a medical clinic being built there. The clinic will be all Haitian run, and the purpose of this week – aside from helping to finish the walls and paint throughout the clinic – will be to establish connections with the people at the clinic for installation of two motorcycles there through One Hundred For Haiti’s “Moto Logistics” program. The clinic could use two motorcycles to transport people and clinic workers by day and taxi clients by night in order to generate funds for the clinic.
After that first week, the medical team flies home to the USA from Port au Prince and Greg will be staying on alone traveling through Haiti for an additional eight days in order to make contact with other recipients of aid and development programming via One Hundred For Haiti. The plan is to install Moto Logistics in as many locations as possible in 2014. In addition to the goal of strengthing potential Moto Logistics contacts throughout Haiti during this trip, Greg has over one hundred pounds of medicine and medical supplies with him for the new clinic at which Dr Jacques Denis, long time in-country partner, is working. Greg will visit and supply another clinic in Port au Prince with basic medicine as well. Team member Sarah Rolfe secured some of these medical supplies through networking locally to the professional medical community in the Seattle area.
After two days in Port au Prince, Greg will then travel to visit Kay Angel Orphanage in Jacmel in the south of Haiti where he will meet with the current director of the orphanage about the children they serve, most of whom have been orphaned by the AIDS virus.
Greg will then visit our close friends in the village of La Source to see how their Moto Logistics program is going, and then travel west to meet the boys of ‘Little Footprints, Big Steps’ the safe house on the Haitian peninsula to which we donated bikes in our “Bikes For the Boys” program last year. Many of these recipients were former child slaves who got a new lease on life from the freedom they found in the bikes we were able to donate. As always, a little effort goes a long way.
After checking in with all of those people firsthand and hearing their stories, Greg’s trip will wrap up back in Port au Prince on the 4th of February. He will come home and send out a newsletter bout the trip to all who have either donated or signed up on our website.
As always, stay tuned to our twitter and Facebook feeds as we hope to send updates from Haiti with news. Social media director Derrick Hachey will be on the receiving side of any updates from Greg in Haiti and will be posting as often as possible.
Thank YOU so much for spreading the word. You have no idea how far a quick tag or mention on Facebook or twitter goes to help us make progress in the work that we are all doing together. For you it takes one click, but the person who sees that tag, or link, might decide to join our efforts and thus help save or change a life.