US Fashion designer Donna Karan making a difference in Haiti

Making a Difference in Haiti-Donna Karan’s Story

On January 1st, 2012 Haiti commemorated its 208th year of independence.  On January 1, 1804, Haiti proclaimed its independence. Through this action, it became the second independent state in the Western Hemisphere and the first free black republic in the world. Haiti's uniqueness attracted much attention and symbolized the aspirations of enslaved and exploited peoples around the globe. 

Haiti is one country in the world that has seen its own fair share of devastations. In 2010, a massive earthquake left scores of people dead and many others homeless and desolate. Two years later, pictures of desperate families struggling to rebuild their lives will bring tears to your eyes.

Donna Karan, of DKNY, the immensely successful fashion designer is one of the many who are lending a helping hand to the suffering people of Haiti, encouraging the rest of the world to do something, no matter how small.

Donna visited Haiti right after the devastating earthquake. Like many other people, she probably thought she would help out and move on with her life but instead, she fell in love with the people, the art and the culture. That one visit saw the birth of a charitable organization, Urban Zen, giving creative artists a chance to sell their pieces all over the world. Now, every single month, she takes a trip to Haiti and offers other people who want to help a chance to join her in one of the trips.

Donna started her own design firm way back in 1985. Before this, she was the head of the design team for Anne Klein. She trained as a designer at the prestigious Parson’s School of design and has now become one of the leading designers in America.  Her company focuses on creating beautiful designs not just for top models but for every woman out there.

Donna’s passion for Haiti is evident as she speaks of the men, women and children, whose lives she has helped change.  She is quoted saying “Haiti speaks to my heart. It embraces everything we seek to accomplish at Urban Zen and the vision for Haiti is simple: help Haiti help itself by utilizing and organizing its artisans, natural resources and production potential to create business models that can be properly marketed and distributed throughout the US and Europe.”

In her interview with Oprah Winfrey, she talks about how Haiti has changed her perspective of life. It is truly amazing how much you receive back when you give from your heart.

Donna Karan is a true hero. She shows the rest of the world that it is possible to restore hope to a nation and a people to whom hope seems lost. The world is stronger and better when ordinary people do small things to make a difference. We all need each other.

Imani. (The Caribbean Current)



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