Student film documents Haitian sustainability projects

Hope can be a precious commodity in developing countries like Haiti. With 80% of the population living below the poverty level, residents will likely welcome any economic opportunity, regardless of social or environmental consequences. The documentary film BLOOMING HOPE: HARVESTING SMILES IN PORT-DE-PAIX documents efforts by a few Haitian citizens, community leaders, and aid workers to build financially, socially and environmentally sustainable business models in one of the country’s poorest region.

Produced by students at Miami’s St. Thomas University, the film grew out of a class on social entrepreneurship and a visit to the country as part of long-term outreach work by the Catholic university. It focuses on coffee farmer Elicoeur Beaubrun, artist and mother of five Tata Dumasie, and a group of schoolchildren from coastal village Baie-de-Henne. In each case, sustainable enterprise models have provided hope where little existed:

  • Beaubrun is now participating in a fair trade coffee cooperative that eventually plans to eliminate most middlemen by processing, roasting, and packaging the coffee itself.
  • Dumasie is able to feed and care for her children by selling her art work through a women’s fair trade artisan group.
  • The whole community in Baie-de-Henne is involved in the establishment of a solar-powered bakery to provide jobs, and decrease deforestation.

No word on distribution plans for BLOOMING HOPE, but you can follow updates on the project’s Twitter stream and Facebook page.

via the Miami Herald