Morpheus Concert on May 3rd

Join us for a fun evening, and 100% of your support will go to our programs in Haiti! Listen to the 11-member band, Morpheus, perform hits from some of music’s greatest classic rock bands–Blood, Sweat & Tears, Steppenwolf, Santana, Chicago, The Eagles, The Doors and more!

Friday, May 3rd, 2019 at 7:30 PM, Doors open at 7PM
West Medicine Lake Community Club, 1705 Forestview Lane N, Plymouth, MN 55441

Admission is a suggested donation of $20 per person. Use this ticket link to make your tax-deductible donation through GiveMN.
Refreshments will be available; wine/beer for a $5 cash donation at the event. Bring your friends!

Days for Girls Work Day 1/20/18

Saturday, January 20th is the next workday for Days For Girls.  We are meeting from 9 to 4 at St. Mary on the Lake Catholic Church in Plymouth.  Directions here   
We have activities for everyone even if sewing is not your “thing”.  Lunch and coffee/water are provided; extra snacks or sides are welcome.  Come for an hour or two or for the day.
What to bring:
·  Sewing Machine and/or serger
·  Basic sewing supplies (polyester thread please)
·  Large scissors marked with your name (may need for some of our non-sewers to use in cutting out bags and diaper kits)
·  Donations for the Days For Girls kits
·  Dark/bright cotton fabric for shields **see note below
·  Bright/light fabric for bags **
·  Dark/bright flannels for the liners **same fabric print guidelines 
·  Washcloths
·  Travel soaps
·  Girls underwear size 10-14
·  Zip-Lock 1 gallon sized bags (Not the slide lock)
There will be an opportunity to hear an update on the work our chapter has done and also to provide a monetary donation if you feel led to do so.
See you soon.  Please forward this info to others who might like to help.
**Use good quality 100% cotton woven fabric similar to quilter’s cotton. No knits, flannels, corduroy, or home dec fabric.
·  Pick colorful stain-busting fabrics, preferably botanicals, geometrics and batiks. Prints preferred.
·  Fabrics and thread should be medium to dark in color to disguise stains
·  Some prints are offensive or illegal in some communities. Prints with people, animals, faces and figures cannot be sent to Muslim communities. NO camouflage fabrics as these are illegal in many countries. Fabrics with food, bugs, reptiles, guns, knives, culture-specific themes as well as girly-glam should be avoided. Bugs, reptiles and animals are predators in some areas; fabrics including these are uncomfortable for the girls to wear and use. Butterflies are OK. 

Morpheus Concert 3/4/2017

Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Hamel Community Center, 3200 Mill St, Medina, MN 55340

You are invited to a concert featuring the band, Morpheus! Rock to music by Blood, Sweat & Tears, Steppenwolf, Santana, Chicago, The Eagles, The Doors and others as the 12-member group performs hits from some of music’s greatest bands.

Admission: $15 in advance. Use this ticket link to make your tax-deductible donation through GiveMN. Refreshments will be available; wine/beer for a $5 cash donation at the event. Bring your friends!

Hamel/Medina Community Center just off Hamel Rd, a half mile west of Hwy MN-55 and Old Rockford Rd. (NOT Medina Ballroom but the Community Center at 3200 Mill Street, Hamel, MN 55340).

HHW Needs Your Help!

Sewing Center

Read Leslee’s post below to find out how you can help women’s business in Haiti by organizing your own fabric cutting party! For a $20 donation per person, HHW will provide patterns and fabric, and send your completed kits to Haiti.

I’m Back from Haiti and Need Your Help!
by Leslee Jaeger

This trip to Haiti was much different in many ways from my previous travels. We stayed in CapHaitian rather than traveling to Limbe, we taught Haitian providers about cervical cancer screening rather than performing surgery, we rode local tap-taps for transportation, we “camped out” in a partially finished house and slept on mattresses on the roof because it was unseasonably hot (95 degrees) and we attempted to market reusable diapers and menstrual pads to start a business for our microfinance women at Helping Haiti Work.

Sewing Center
Sewing Center

We learned much about how business works in Haiti and the Haitian medical providers learned about the causes of cervical cancer, how to screen for the disease and methods of treatment. More about the cervical cancer program in another post. This is what I learned.

1. Haitian women work hard and maintain long hours at their market stalls in order to clear $3 – $4 a day.

2. Haitian women are skeptical about new products, especially when marketed by white women. A side-by-side comparison to the local product (diaper or menstrual pad) using water was much more effective than talking.

3. Haitian women are born to bargain when negotiating price.

4. Most Haitian women have not seen an electric sewing machine in action and all want to try to operate it, usually going way too fast.

5. Haitian women are quick to learn a new task because many of them are illiterate or only partially literate and learn by doing.

After multiple conversations with women, assessing the current market price of our product and estimating the cost of supplies to make a reusable diaper or menstrual pad kit, we have realized that the profit margin is too narrow to make this program fully sustainable. But that does not mean that we have given up. Put 5 white women together on a roof with a bottle of wine at 9 pm and much brainstorming happens.

We have created the concept of CUTTING PARTIES or PINOT AND PADS. For $20 a person, you collect a group of your friends together and for 2-3 hours cut out diapers and menstrual pad kits. We will supply you with patterns and fabric purchased thru the $20 donation. No sewing needed as the unfinished kits will be sent to Haiti and the women will purchase them for a small cost, construct the item and market it for a profit. This employs many of the ideas from my previous post When Helping Hurts. We are working to create a culture of self-sufficiency rather than a culture of dependency. We are also in the process of making a video that you can download from YouTube which gives a visual education in what we are trying to accomplish.

The next shipment of kits will be traveling to Haiti in mid June. The Haitian women are depending on us to help them help themselves. Please contact me at if you are interested in hosting an event.


Seamstresses without Borders

Haiti Sewing Projects

Haiti Sewing Projects
Sewing Projects

You may have heard of Doctors Without Borders or Engineers Without Borders, but you have probably not heard of Seamstresses Without Borders, as we have just started the first branch in Limbe and Ranquitte, Haiti. Ellen Schreder and Abbie Ahner traveled to Haiti this week to work with Haitian women who are interested in a microfinance loan thru Helping Haiti Work, but do not have a pre-existing business. We have been collecting fabric over the past few months and 6 – 50 pound suitcases followed the women on their journey over potholed and washed out roads to the rural village of Ranquitte. Ellen and Abbie are helping women with basic sewing skills develop a business plan for constructing and marketing the items that they sew. We will be continuing to encourage the women to use the reusable menstrual pads that I have written about previously, in addition to reusable diapers and mens and womens underwear.

The board of Helping Haiti Work has had numerous discussions about how we can make this business sustainable but also profitable for the women. Too many projects that are started in the developing world falter and break down when funds to sustain the enterprise dry up. Using donated fabric and supplies, purchasing remnants of fabric and using used flannel sheets has allowed us to keep the cost of each item low enough so that a profit can still be made when the women sell the items in the local market. Unfortunately, flannel fabric is difficult to find in Haiti so most of the fabric will need to be brought in by volunteers.

The first day of the project went beyond our expectations. The sight of an electric sewing machine (the norm in Haiti is a treadle machine as electricity is variable) generated much excitement when women saw it in operation the first time. During a teaching session about business models, women brainstormed new ideas building on the sewing program. One woman wants a loan so that she can purchase fabric in Cap-Haitian and then sell to the sewers so that they can focus on sewing. Women wanted to teach their sons and daughters to sew to increase production. Although cooking is considered women’s work in Haiti, many of the tailors are men.

Free handouts to those who are poor are easy and make the giver feel fortunate and superior. The recipient, however, does not benefit to the same degree and is left waiting for the next handout. Programs such as this are much more difficult to implement, involve more time on everyone’s part but create a sustainable business that will be in place long after the Americans have left. Haitian women also benefit by realizing that they have the power within themselves to make a better life for their family and their community. They no longer need to rely on handouts and can replicate this same business in neighboring communities.

Upcoming Trip to Haiti

Mothers waiting for screenings
Mothers waiting for screenings

Three of us will be traveling to Haiti next week to work at Mama Baby Haiti, a birthing center in Cap Haitian that employs Haitian trained nurse midwives. They have received a grant from Dining for Women which allows them to expand their program to include well woman care. A community health worker will be trained to educate area women about sexually transmitted disease, contraception and cervical cancer screening. The goal of our trip is to train midwives, physicians and nurses in the technique of cervical cancer screening with VIA(visual inspection with acetic acid). 285,000 women die each year of cervical cancer, 85% of them in the developing world.   Read more

When Helping Hurts

Leslee teaching at Limbe hospital

by Leslee Jaeger

Leslee teaching at Limbe hospital
Leslee and nurses teaching at Limbe hospital

My April 2015 trip to Haiti will mark the 10th year since I first journeyed to the island in 2006. Just as my parenting methods have evolved over the past 24 years, so have my views and methods of “helping” others, both here and abroad. For the first time, the April trip will involve much more teaching and not as much doing, as we work to train midwives in methods of cervical cancer screening and treatment. More information about this venture can be found here.

Haiti is an example of how too much “helping” by outsiders (usually Americans) can be a disadvantage. Too many projects have been started or promised and never finished… Read more

News from Haiti

Jeff and Leslee Jaeger, and Tim Neary are on volunteer medical mission and sending updates on Helping Haiti Work projects. Leslee stresses the importance of your donations to promote women’s businesses in northern Haiti:

3 years ago we started a cervical cancer screening program. Yesterday it became very apparent why this education and screening is necessary. We diagnosed 3 women with end stage cervical cancer. One of these women will probably die in a few weeks, another is only 34 years old and has 5 children that depend on her. Even in the US, these women have such advanced disease that they would only be eligible for hospice type treatment. The screening test is simple, taking only 5 minutes and costing 50 cents in supplies. Precancerous changes can be caught early and easily treated with a 90% cure rate. Unfortunately, all of these women have had their disease for many years and will die of a disease that is the number one cause of cancer death for women in the developing world. We are working to expand our program, teaching local physicians and nurses how to screen and treat. Later today 2 of our nurses will visit a local church and provide education to a women’s group. When we visit our micofinance recipients this week, we encourage them to bring their friends for screening and to spread the word about the preventive services available. The microfinance women are leaders in their community and are respected for their business knowledge. We hope they will also be listened to when they spread the word about cervical cancer. By funding more loans, we will be able to involve more women in not only businesses, but also to serve a role models for their communities. 

This HHW client has a successful business buying cast-off clothing from the USA-- She buys it in bulk, sorts and washes it, and sells it in the local market.
This HHW client has a successful business buying cast-off clothing from the USA– She buys it in bulk, sorts and washes it, and sells it in the local market.