CS Art Center exists within the footprint of a small school in the Boston zone of Cite Soleil, a shanty town just outside Port au Prince, Haiti. The school is called Cite Soleil Community School, or CSCS for short.
The school has been in existence for over 30 years, but its initial structure was destroyed in the earth quake of 2010. After the earthquake the school relocated and began to reestablish itself. Haiti Allies, one of CSCS's primary U.S. based partners, helped significantly to provide funds to enable the Haitian owners of the school to rebuild in the aftermath of the quake.
A core principle of Haiti Allies has long been to invest in cooperative development in Haiti, and to try to break the cycles of dependency that characterize many non-profit and NGO efforts to empower Haitian communities. CS Art Center is an expression of this kind of investment in self-sustainable enterprise.
While many individuals contributed financially to provide seed money to build the factory, a significant portion of funding was provided by members and friends of Perennial Yoga, Wisdom, and Community in Fitchburg, WI. Haiti Allies and our Haitian Colleagues are deeply grateful for this support, vision, and creativity. The initial idea for the bags made of recycled rice and flour bags came from yoga teacher Carla Coleman of Perennial Yoga during a Haiti Allies trip to Haiti in February, 2016. Perennial Yoga, Wisdom, and Meditation owner Megan Grace gave gracious support to the project. Perennial yoga member and seamstress Erin Adamany designed the initial prototype and traveled to Haiti to train and equip the Haitian workers so that production could begin. We are deeply grateful.
The Lion's share of the seed money needed to build the Karma Yoga Bag factory was provided by members and friends of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Eau Claire, WI. It is their long-term commitment and extreme generosity that made this dream a reality. There are no words that will adequately express the gratitude of the CSCS community for this amazing expression of solidarity, hope, and love.