Have you ever thought that by buying a needlepoint belt, you’d help both women and children in a poverty-stricken barrio in the Dominican Republic?
When you buy a belt from Good Threads LLC you do just that. Their custom and ready-made belts benefit people, mostly Haitian refugees, in Esperanza. Currently they employ about 40 women stitching belts for them. This is particularly important because jobs for women are hard to find, especially for Haitian women.
Not only do they give their employees good-paying jobs they provide them with medical and financial services, including a bank and micro loans. The bank is important because, as illegal immigrants these women do not have access to regular banks. With the small loans they can provide beds or clothes for their children or buy items they can then sell.
It’s an amazing story and one that started in 2011. David Palmer was living in Esperanza and was volunteering at many of the community organizations there. When he learned about needlepoint belts, he saw this as an opportunity to employ the women in this community. He saw that these women had hands that were both capable and dexterous because braiding hair is a common pastime. Thus they had the motor skills to master needlepoint. They are so popular that there is a waiting list of women wanting to work for them.
Many of the women employed are single mothers. Stitching needlepoint belts is a job they can do from their homes while they care for their children. You can learn more about them in this short video.
The company sells ready-made and custom-designed needlepoint belts. They also provide needlepoint belt finishing for a flat rate. Soon they will be adding needlepoint dog collars to their product line.
The good work of this company doesn’t end here. With each belt a portion goes to the Joan Rose Foundation, which helps impoverished children in the same barrio. Each belt purchased can provide enough money to give a child three meals a day for a month.
Currently the Foundation helps over 120 children 5.5 days a week. While they provide food, clothing, medicine, and support to help with the children’s immediate needs, their goal is to break the cycle of poverty they and their families are stuck in.