Five years after the devastating earthquake, Kenneth and his team visited Haiti to see their good work in progress.
In 2010, when the earthquake hit Haiti, Kenneth Cole Productions launched an in-store shoe drive and shipped thousands of pairs to Haitians who desperately needed shoes. What happened next resulted in a unique and multifaceted ecosystem—a business and community model—that strives to eventually become self-sufficient and sustainable.
In 2012, the brand built The Kenneth Cole Haiti Health Center (The KCHHC) at St. Mary’s Hospital in Cité Soleil one of the most underserved areas in the Western Hemisphere. The KCHHC is part of a tri-level collaborative medical system in partnership with the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, and is accessible to over 1.5 million people. The St. Luke Foundation for Haiti (a Haitian-run organization employing more than 1,000 Haitian staff) provides education, medical care, and dignified humanitarian outreach through key programs.
In addition to the health center, Kenneth has collaborated with Deux Mains sandal workshop — a grassroots social enterprise that uses upcycled tires and locally sourced leathers to make one-of-a-kind sandals. In collaboration with their shoemakers, Kenneth designed “The Love-Haiti Sandals” to support the local community.
Last year, Kenneth Cole opened a store in Haiti at the Kinam Hotel in Petitionville. The store contributes to The KCHHC and has collaborations with local artisans, providing jobs and funds to the local community.
The courage, strength, and capacity of the Haitian people is limitless. “Our hope and intention of our involvement in Haiti was to empower the Haitian people with the tools necessary to build a healthier and stronger community,” says Kenneth. “Our work there has begun to do that but has also evolved into so much more.”
Scroll down to hear the Kenneth Cole team’s first-hand experiences and see photos from their trips to Haiti.