Three months ago, IHI and Papillion Enterprise embarked on a joint venture to provide jobs for women that have metastatic breast cancer. The program came to life after Melissa, one of our patients, came into the ward one day and handed our staff a small picture of her five-year-old son. She is 32 years old and her partner deserted her after she was diagnosed with cancer. “Please, will you take him when I am gone”, she asked with tears in her eyes.
Living with metastatic breast cancer in Haiti is difficult enough without also having to worry everyday about the future of the children that mothers afflicted with the disease leave behind. Children who lose their mothers in Haiti are often abandoned or forced into domestic indentured servitude. Time and time again, patients explain to us that this is their biggest fear and concern. IHI sought out Papillon Enterprise, a Haitian social business whose principle mission is orphan prevention, to create a pilot program. ‘The Legacy Collection’ gives these vulnerable women a salary and part of the profits go into a fund for their children's education.
Three of our ladies have now completed their training and are creating these jewelry pieces for the collection under the guidance of experienced Papillon employees. These are currently available to purchase on the Papillon Enterprise website here. We hope that you can help different women from different parts of the world, with entirely different backgrounds and skill sets, come together to work with women in Haiti afflicted with metastatic breast cancer and help them live better, longer and build a legacy.
You can also visit Shelley Clay’s blog, Founder of Papillon Enterprise, where she talks about the meaning of this program for her as a mother and a cancer survivor.