Davidson Helping To Save Lives In Haiti
May 13, 2012
SEATTLE - Fifth-year senior Kari Davidson has accomplished a lot in her young life. She has been the Husky starting goalkeeper for two seasons, helped lead the team to the Elite 8 in 2010, traveled to Brazil with the team in 2009 and completed an internship with Nike in Portland.
Now Davidson can add Creative Director of Haiti Babi to her list.
Along with her friend Kaitlin who is the Founder and CEO, Kari is part of a great cause that allows Haitian women to work and provide for their families.
"This is life-changing for the women of Haiti," Kari explained. "Unemployment in Haiti is extremely high, especially among women. Many mothers don't have the means for a house, food, or clean water, making caring for a healthy baby nearly impossible. As such, many moms have to make the difficult decision of leaving their baby at an orphanage so that he or she has a chance at survival. By giving moms jobs, we are empowering them to care for their children, keeping their families together and keeping kids out of orphanages."
It was Kaitlin's second trip to Haiti that inspired this dream. It lists on their website that, "Haiti Babi was founded to keep kids out of orphanages and with their parents. During my first trip to Haiti, while volunteering at an infant care center and orphanage Children of the Promise (COTP), I fell in love with a one-year-old boy named Sterly. As with many of the other children at COTP, Sterly's parents couldn't afford a house, food or simple medical care to keep him alive. Sadly, Sterly's story is not uncommon in Haiti. Many of the 500,000 children in Haitian orphanages are not orphans but have parents who simply cannot afford to provide for them.
Kari and Kaitlin, a UW grad, met in Seattle at the Social Enterprise Competition and worked on Haiti Babi together beginning in February of 2012.
"We got along great," Kari said. "Our skill-sets are so complimentary. It seemed like an obvious fit for us to continue to work together."
"On a trip to Haiti a few months later, I got to visit Sterly in his home as he had been reunited with his family," Kaitlin continues on their website. "When I met Sterly's family and saw how much they loved him, I knew that this is where he was supposed to be all along. No parent should have to be without their child simply because they can't afford him. Leaving Sterly's house that day, I knew I had to do something to create a sustainable solution to this common problem in Haiti."
Kaitlin wanted to give moms jobs after her trip and together they created the concept and their initial product line of baby blankets.
Haiti Babi's mission is, "We make hip baby products with an authentic cause of employing and empowering Haitian moms to provide and care for their families."
They hope to employ 400 women in the next five years. That begins with a trip to Haiti on May 22 where they plan on hiring 10 women.
"We want our product and our company to be as successful as possible, because the more successful the company is, the more women we can employ and the more lives we can change," Kari added.
With Kari finishing up school and soccer at UW and Kaitlin just finishing her master's degree, the two are no doubt busy trying to start a non-profit organization.
"We're both busy people, so launching a new non-profit company amid all of our other work and responsibilities is no easy task," Kari said. "But, we are both so passionate about this work and believe so strongly in it, we have been spending a lot of time (and late nights) working on it. We also have been really fortunate in getting a lot of help and support from our friends, family, coaches and mentors who have lovingly contributed money, time, and lots of good ideas to help make our progress possible."
You can visit the official page for Haiti Babi at http://haitibabi.org/ and the official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/HaitiBabi.