For over 30 years, Comité Artisanal Haitïen (CAH) has worked to support Haitian artisans by providing them with professional development services and marketing their products to fair trade organizations in Europe and United States. Crafts production allows thousands of Haitian artisans to make a living, building confidence and independence while reviving pride in traditional handicrafts. Comité Artisanal Haitïen works with over 200 artisans located throughout Haiti. The artisans represent a variety of craft traditions, including stone carving, metal sculptures, paper maché, horn and bone, basketry and natural fiber weaving.
Work with artisans ranges from product evaluation, quality control, to marketing locally and internationally. Remaining committed to the mission to develop artisan crafts through the fair trade model, CAH trains artisans in small business management and basic education including literacy programs. These services not only benefit artisans financially, but also provide them with exposure to professional skills. Artisans are conscientious of the use of raw materials available locally that do not add to the prevalent environmental degradation in Haiti. In strengthening artisan development, CAH promotes values of experience, reliability, fairness, and transparency.
In 2010, CAH artisan, Jhonson Augustin, a cut metal artisan from Croix des Bouquets, Haiti visited Rochester and One World Goods. He shared his creativity and his story during his visit. The eldest of 11 children, whose father had left Haiti, Augustin felt a great deal of responsibility. Augustin began learning metal work at a young age and now has become a well-known cut metal artisan in his own right, training other young apprentices. “Even apprentices can make enough to go to school, or to care for their children if they are parents,” he said. Currently Augustin’s workshop supports some 50 families.