I stood in front of over 100 artisans who were at work today this afternoon. Shirley stood next to me to help with clarification and translation if needed. A topic so sensitive and scary needs to have utmost clarity. I don’t understand the exchange rate and the plummet of the value of the dollar in Haiti myself so how do I possibly explain it to them? How do I spell out that we sell in US Dollars and pay them in Haitian Gourde and just because of the sudden currency manipulation from people on top, that payroll is going to double in what we have to pay them, but they won’t get a penny more?
How do I explain the coronavirus pandemic response in America to people who have endured malaria, dengue fever, cholera, chikungunya, Zika just for starters, and coronavirus is just a blip on their radar for survival? The only thing they know for sure is that it is yet another economic setback that they are reeling from. Again.
Their hope is to feed their kids TOMORROW with the payroll they were expecting today. But now we can’t pay them all that they were expecting on account of the exchange rate dropping the value of the dollar 45% in four weeks. I have lived abroad for twenty years of my life and have never seen a currency shift like what has happened in Haiti over the past month.
All businesses in Haiti that receive payment in US dollars are being decimated by the shift. I can only expect even more unemployment as businesses that were already suffering by last year’s political instability and the coronavirus buying freeze struggle to make it one more month.
Our history as a company has proven that we have always aimed for sustainability in the creative collection that the artisans at Papillon Marketplace produce. For close to ten years, our sales have supported our artisan’s salaries 100% of the time.
But like in the United States, the economic situation has been enormously rough this year! Every month it seems impossible to fathom how everyone will continue to get paid what they need just to survive. While we aim for sustainability, we acknowledge that in this moment, we remain in need.
Papillon Empowerment is humbly asking for your help during this ongoing crisis to continue to protect the paychecks of the artisans and the families that don’t have enough work and sales to meet their basic needs.
Papillon currently works with over 201 artisans whose house-holds number over 1000 people. These people rely on sales to be able to eat, provide simple shelters, and go to school. Unfortunately, the sales they depend on are just not going to meet the entire need this month.
For those of you reading this who, despite the current climate, are still living in prosperity, we implore you to remember these families in this incredibly challenging time. We are looking for 78 friends of Papillon to give a one-time tax-deductible donation of $500 this week in order to be sure that everyone gets paid. All of them. 100% of donations this week will go directly to monthly pay. We can’t bear the thought of pay cuts and layoffs to people who already struggle so much!
Would you be willing to step in and provide some relief?
How to Help!
Donations can be made at papillonempowerment.org
Checks can be made out to Papillon Empowerment and mailed to 2215 Coconut Lane, Merritt Island, Florida 32952.
Papillon Empowerment is a registered 501(c3) nonprofit organization. A tax-deductible receipt will be provided for all donations.