Haiti Mama is a company founded by Fergus Falls social worker, Tausha Pearson. At the time of its creation, Pearson was a single mother of two toddlers and was embarking on a life-changing journey to Haiti to help make progress in remedying the drastic unemployment rates in accordance with her thesis project for her master’s degree in social work. Pearson had been contacted by Rhyan Buettner-Desmaret, another Fergus Falls woman who relocated to Haiti and opened a malnutrition clinic called Middle Ground. “Could you come to Haiti for six months to a year? I need a social worker to help me figure out employment for mamas with kids in my malnutrition clinic, so they can feed their babies,” Buettner-Desmaret asked Pearson. Pearson, with a single mother’s tax return, funds from a huge garage sale, and the prayer: “God, do something cool with this money,” packed up her family and headed for Haiti after receiving approval for her thesis project.
Before Pearson even boarded the plane, Haiti Mama was born, with an “army of mamas” on board to help Pearson secure employment for impoverished parents in Haiti, she just wasn’t sure just how much of an impact her work would have, or which direction it would take. Once in Haiti, Pearson dove right in, learning that the orphanage industry, rife with corruption, used $70 million in American donations and funding but weren’t improving the lives of the children within the orphanages, children who were stolen from their families, trafficked, or surrendered due to their families’ inability to financially support them. For Pearson, this was clearly the problem that needed addressing.
Haiti Mama partnered with Haitian social services in reuniting families, shutting down orphanages, and creating sustainable jobs through education and training. They are continuing their work, as there are still in excess of 800 orphanages in Haiti despite the United Nations declaring them a violation of human rights in 2019.
In 2017, after successfully building a service model for family reunification, Haiti Mama shifted their research to job creation and went through a period of trial and error, developing employment opportunities as they progressed. In 2018, after successfully creating sustainable jobs in Haiti, Haiti Mama launched the “Mama to Mama” program, a subscription box program that paid Haitian artisans for their beautiful, handmade products. The first box was released in May 2019 and generated $3,000 in revenue which all went directly into the pockets of Haitian families. “In my opinion, the Mama to Mama box is actually better than most subscription boxes because our goal is to create jobs, we can invest more money into each box than subscription businesses,” Pearson explained.
The Mama to Mama box is created by mamas, for mamas. Each box contains creative, high-quality, handmade items that include anything from jewelry to chocolate to home decor, “all the things that make us mamas happy,” shared Pearson.
To date, Mama to Mama has invested nearly $56,000 directly into job creation for families in Haiti. The subscription box is delivered to doorsteps across the country in February, May, August and November. The retail value of each box is 2.5 times greater than the cost of the box itself. Their warehouse, located in Fergus Falls, is currently packed floor to ceiling, with the boxes for the February subscriptions, which will include at least nine products. “Thank you to the United States Postal Service in Fergus Falls for dealing with our huge shipments,” Pearson expressed. The February box has also been curated as the perfect Valentine’s gift by including Haitian chocolate and a hand-stitched card that can include a personalized note.
To order the Mama to Mama box for yourself or for a special woman in your life, visit www.haitimama.org/mama-to-mama. Code: feelthelove will provide $10 off a subscription or a single Valentine’s gift. Be sure to add your love note at checkout, if you’d like to surprise your lady with an extra special touch! For more information or photos, follow @mamatomamabox on Instagram and Facebook.