July 21, 2019

Art for a cause

A piece of tin artwork created by Cite Soleil Artists that is currently being sold on the Creative Haiti Website. (Photo Courtesy of Creative Haiti)

Since 2010, the Global Marketing class has run the non-profit organization Cité Soleil Opportunity Council (CSOC), an organization that is continuing its charitable work this year.

The CSOC provides aid to the commune of Cité Soleil, which is an impoverished and dangerous area located in Port Au Prince, Haiti. The commune is residence to approximately 250,000, the majority of whom live in poverty. Cité Soleil has an unemployment rate of 90% and an illiteracy rate of 85%. Most residents live on a salary of only 1 to 2 us dollars a day.

Dr. Larry Kaplan founded CSOC with the Global Marketing class in September of 2010. Kaplan was a volunteer after the earthquake in Haiti. During his stay in Haiti, Kaplan met many Haitian artists and was interested in giving them a sense of pride,while also raising money to fund healthcare and other services desperately needed in the Cite Soleil community. Kaplan worked with the high school Global Marketing class to buy and sell tin art in order to benefit the people of Cité Soleil.

Jack Cieslik ’16 joined CSOC because “it truly impacts the lives of struggling Haitians.” “We provide opportunities to citizens of the country overcome with tragedy, believing that they will allow Haitians to successfully rebuild their community,” he added.

The Haitian artists use primarily metal oil drums and tin material. CSOC buys the artwork directly from these artists at a fair price to sell in the local community. The artists use the money to support themselves and their 130-140 community members. Almost all CSOC profits (after paying the artist overhead costs) go directly to Haitian public charities to revitalize the Haitian community including micro-finance loans, trade school grants, public work activities and civic empowerment groups.

“This year, our class will continue to operate CSOC,” said Cieslik. “We hope to  increase our exposure in the community while we expand the organization.”

CSOC is run by Mrs. Lord and has 25 student members.

(Celia Golod ’17, Photo Editor)

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