Better Together: Vi Bella Partnership Through the Eyes of Christi Gabhart

by | Jun 24, 2024

Christi Gabhart shares her insights on the partnership between Vi Bella and Many Hands, highlighting the positive impacts she has observed in the Pignon community.

Christi Gabhart, Director of Benevolence and Ministry in Pignon, Haiti, for Many Hands for Haiti (MH4H), shares her insights on the inspiring partnership with Vi Bella, a social enterprise empowering Haitian artisans.

The initial motivation for the partnership stemmed from the current situation in Haiti. “Vi Bella’s operations were limited due to safety concerns in Port-au-Prince,” Christi explains. “Pignon’s relative safety presented an opportunity to establish a production center with Many Hands.” This strategic collaboration allowed Vi Bella to expand their reach while aligning perfectly with MH4H’s mission to empower the Pignon community.

The partnership resonated deeply with MH4H because it addressed a critical need: job creation. “There are few jobs in general,” says Christi. “The opportunity to provide jobs for local people was very appealing.” Vi Bella offered a unique solution, creating employment opportunities outside of MH4H’s traditional programming.

Implementing the program wasn’t without its hurdles. Identifying potential artisans and establishing a workspace were initial challenges. However, through collaboration, these hurdles were overcome. “Many Hands arranged for Vi Bella artisans to come from Port-au-Prince for initial training,” Christi explains. “Now, with skilled artisans in Pignon, we can train future generations locally.”

Christi highlights the human impact of the partnership through Elirose’s story. Elirose, a Vi Bella artisan, previously struggled to find work and care for her family. “Now that Elirose has a steady income,” Christi shares, “it gives her a sense of stability and peace of mind.” This is just one example of the positive ripple effect the partnership is creating.

The future of the Vi Bella partnership is bright. “We plan to add more jobs,” says Christi. This expansion will require a larger workspace and improved lighting. They’ve also identified a potential trainer among the current artisans, fostering a sense of ownership and leadership within the program. The economic impact extends beyond the artisans themselves. “This is economic growth because there’s ‘new’ money coming into the community,” Christi explains.

The success of this program depends on the generosity of supporters. “Give generously,” Christi urges. “YOU are the generosity engine that makes this possible.”

The partnership’s impact goes beyond just financial empowerment. “Families in poverty are trapped in a cycle of survival,” Christi explains. A steady income allows families to focus on education, healthcare, and a brighter future. The Vi Bella artisans are experiencing a newfound sense of dignity, confidence, and hope.

“Haiti faces challenges,” Christi acknowledges. “But Many Hands and Vi Bella are working together at the grassroots level to make a change from the ground up.” This community-driven approach ensures that resources are used effectively and empowers the people of Pignon to build a brighter future.

The story of the Vi Bella partnership is a testament to the power of collaboration. By supporting MH4H and Vi Bella, you are investing in the future of Pignon, one handcrafted piece and empowered life at a time. Visit our website or attend the upcoming “Better Together” event to learn more about how you can get involved. Together, we can transform lives and bring hope to a community in need.

About Many Hands:

Many Hands is an Iowa-based nonprofit creating local and global life-transformation by strengthening families.  Established in 2008, the organization focuses on six key areas for transformation, including education, agronomy, leadership development, safe homes, medical assistance, and economic development. Each year, the organization reaches at least 25,000 people through their Haitian operations, IMPACT trips, and Many Hands Thrift Markets located in Grimes, Iowa, and Spencer, Iowa. 

Many Hands is called to transform together, to be love in action, in a broken world. 

Learn More