Founded in 1973, Comite Artisanal Haitian (CAH) is a non-profit organization that works with more than 200 Haitian artisans. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, where 80% of the people live on less than $2 per day and jobs are scarce or non-existent.
The CAH artisans depend on their craftmaking as the sole source of income to support themselves and their families. The artisans are either a part of cooperatives or craft groups, such as family workshops, or they are independent artisans.
Georges Liataud, a blacksmith born in 1899, in Croix-de-Bouquets, a small town 30 minutes outside of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, is credited with being the "father" of Haitian ironwork. Haitian ironwork is now known throughout the world as beautiful works of art made from recycled metal.
Artisans purchase industrial 55-gallon drums and then stuff them with straw which is burned to remove residue from the drum. The metal is then cut and flattened, a design is chalked on and then the metal piece is cut and hammered into whimsical, uniquely Haitian recycled art. The artisan's creativity is inspired by themes familiar to their island life, sea life and religion.
CAH provides marketing and promotional expertise, training in literacy and business skills, fair wages and advances on orders and financial assistance in case of health emergencies. After the devastating January 12th, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, all the artisans of Comite Artisanal Haitian and their families need our support more than ever.