Launched in November, 2011, the handbag project is a partnership between HaitiCorps International and FAVILEK (Fanm Viktim Leve Kanpe/Women Victims Get Up Stand Up), an organization dedicated to helping women who have been victims of gender-based violence. For twenty years, FAVILEK has fought for justice and reparations for women who were raped, tortured, imprisoned, or abused under the military dictatorship following the coup d'état in Haiti in 1991.
Since the devastating earthquake of January, 2010, FAVILEK has worked with women in relief camps for the internally displaced and throughout Port-au-Prince to document and report instances of rape and other forms of gender-based violence and to provide safety and support for women who have been victims.
Through the Handbag Project, HCI and FAVILEK will train women in sewing and other techniques and offer stable employment with a fair wage. A profit-sharing agreement between HCI and FAVILEK will ensure that the project remains responsive to the needs of Haitians themselves and will allow FAVILEK to expand its much-needed programs to more vulnerable women.
With the generous assistance of handbag designer and HCI volunteer intern, Ann Heckathorn, the women of FAVILEK are learning how to design and produce high-quality bags.
Below are pictures of some of the bags that have been made so far.