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 Jislen, Andre, and their four children Nana, Maggie, Lojenski, and Andre.

When Good Threads was first created it had one simple goal, to provide quality employment for the mothers of the children who attend the Joan Rose Foundation. This was back in 2013 and within the first two years of Good Threads founding it had accomplished this goal. One thing was miss though… What about the fathers?

Andre working on his belt.

Men in Haiti and the Dominican Republic can generally find work in construction, farming, the transportation industry, and general labor jobs. Women, on the other hand, have a hard time finding quality and dignified employment. Gender role stereotypes are very common in both cultures and this commonly regulates women to staying at home taking care of children, working as maids, and any other kind of domestic job. Good Threads was created to provide women quality employment that they could be proud of and support their families with.

General labor construction jobs in Haiti aren’t easy to find and often don’t pay well or come with any benefits such as health insurance or any protections if you were to get hurt on the job.

While men have greater access to work here in Haiti the work is neither consistent or pays very much. The average pay per day for a general laborer is around $5 USD and if you happen to get a factory job in Haiti’s apparel industry minimum wage is $5.11 USD a day. Working in Haiti’s transportation industry often means you need the capital to invest into purchasing a motorcycle or small pickup truck to use as a taxi. Driving for someone else isn’t very profitable but you aren’t responsible for paying for auto repairs, taxi licenses, and driving insurance. Farming is probably the most easily accessible job for men in Haiti, but Haiti imports over 50% of its food. Imports are often cheaper than domestic crops and have thus killed several agro-industries here in Haiti, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs . Most notably is the destruction of the Haitian rice industry. Currently Haitian rice is four times the price of American rice because of tax breaks and reforms.

With all this said, the idea of sitting in the comfort of your own home and stitching a belt sounds much more appeasing than working any of these jobs. Not to mention the fact that you are earning four times, sometimes five times, the amount you would make doing any other available job. The choice is obvious and this is why men began asking to learn how to stitch belts.

GT stitchers, wife and husband, Chikita and Jacky working together to finish a belt.

Men first started inquiring about working for Good Threads when they realized how much money their wives were making stitching belts. Women began teaching their husbands how to stitch and it soon became common to see a husband stitching one side of a belt while his wife stitched the other. Soon men began requesting their own belts.

Ricardo and Moda posing with their belts. Moda taught Ricardo how to stitch and ever since then he as been helping Moda to support their family by stitching belts for Good Threads.

Moda and Richardo with their four girls Luismanie, Dieudonne, Nini, and Yeni.

Ricardo is the father of four girls who attend the JRF, and his wife, Moda, has been stitching belts since 2013. Ricardo was the first man to be employed through Good Threads back in 2015 and he accomplished this with persistence, hard work, and a good attitude. When belts were given out, Richardo would stand in line with all the other women and refuse to move until he got his own belt. He worked hard at perfecting his stitching and today is one of the best Good Threads stitchers and always has work.

Good Threads stitchers showing off their hard work!

As of today Good Threads employees are 85% women and 15% men. By employing all the fathers in the Joan Rose Foundation community we are providing work and income to both parents which helps each household and its children. All the men we employ are hard working, dedicated, and are thankful for their job with Good Threads. Happy Father’s Day! 

Jordel working hard stitching a belt to support his young daughter Saika.