Earlier this year, I spent a while milling about on the island of Hispaniola. Part of it was spent backpacking through the Dominican Republic while the latter part of my trip was spent in Haiti. Haiti is one of the most fascinating places I've visited and a month was certainly not enough time to explore this culturally and historically rich country. While I was in Port-au-Prince, staying at Haiti Communitere, the opportunity arose to visit REBUILD Globally, a social enterprise that makes 'Strides' or recycled tire sandals. The social enterprise works on several levels, offering employment and living wages to artisans (they currently employ 13 people), recycling tires (4,014 to date) and reusing donated leather items (who needs a leather jacket in the Caribbean?). After they are cut, shaped, glued and sewn together the sandals are then sold from their workshop on Boulevard Toussaint Louverture, in some U.S. stores and online.
While visiting the workshop we were given a tour by the development manager Annie Dickson and I was able to take a couple of photos. Watching the artisans work with equal strength and grace as they moulded and cut the tires was a privilege and I appreciate their kindness and co-operation in allowing me to photograph their place of work.
You can read more about travelling across Hispaniola at The Backpacker Collective.