Tent Cities and Dignity

By Jessica Juliana Fischer-Smith

jessijuliedot@gmail.com
As many of you might know, 10% of the proceeds from Kayla’s Tutu Closet go to an organization called Dresses for Haiti. If you’re on here, you’re probably a fashion aficionado; however, you might still be asking, ‘why dresses?’
I won’t call Haiti a third world country. That term implies that it is a lesser nation than those around it. Yet Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world; specifically, the most impoverished in the western hemisphere. Women are already treated as second class citizens in the richer nations on the globe, so just sit back and imagine how women were treated in Haiti before the earthquake.

Though the earthquake has increased international presence within Haitian borders, it also tore down so many homes that families are still residing in the tent cities in Port-au-Prince today. This has led to an increase in domestic violence. A tarp tent can be cut with a knife and it does nothing to protect women and children. People tend to say things sound more chic in French; “viol” still means rape and nothing can make that word beautiful.
In a society where dignity becomes tainted by abuse, a dress can mean the world. Thread and fabric can weave dreams of a better tomorrow, at least for a little while.
For more on women in Haiti, check out the documentary “Poto Mitan”: www.potomitan.net