2009- A small group of women from northern Haiti formed an organization they called “Asosiayasyon Tel Kole Peyizan Milot” (The Peasant Women’s Association of Milot.) Their goal was to provide a platform of solidarity for social and economic growth for members. They met to work on sewing projects and talk about how they could improve life for themselves and their families by selling more of what they made. Unbeknownst to them, many of the goods they made were outdated. Despite their careful craftsmanship, times had changed.
2010- A devastating earthquake hit Port-au-Prince on January 12th. Hospitals located near the epicenter were either damaged, destroyed or already overflowing, forcing many of the injured to make the difficult and painful trip north through rugged mountains to Milot where they could be treated at the renowned Hôpital Sacré Coeur. As local doctors and nurses rushed to administer medical care, the women of Milot took action to comfort the injured and grieving families. You see, in Haiti, the daily needs of hospital patients are routinely taken care of by family members however many of the injured arrived alone or with little or no family or financial support. The dedication shown by the women of Milot to total strangers, combined with the heroic measures undertaken by the medical staff at Hôpital Sacré Coeur comforted and saved thousands of lives. U. S. volunteers were so inspired by the dedication of the women of Milot that they wanted to help. Their efforts ultimately lead to the creation of The Women of Milot Entrepreneurial Network. By May W.O.M.E.N. identified more marketable products using the same skill sets the women were already using and organized the first of many week-long training seminars.
2011- A fully equipped sewing co-op was established at Milot’s Cultural Center, Lakou Lakay. A second co-op, affectionally named "Milot House", followed. Sales began in earnest and W.O.M.E.N. realized its future serving women in Haiti.
2012- W.O.M.E.N. moved its base of operations to a workshop in Cap Haitien. It continued its training program to include women living in more rural areas. Many lived too far from town to commute each day to work, others ran into problems with child and family care. W.O.M.E.N. soon realized that an "at home mom" could also be an "at home businesswoman". This lead to our current structure of creating and supporting independent cooperatives. Co-op leaders periodically come to our main workshop to pick up and drop off their work while working day-to-day from home.
2014- W.O.M.E.N. has expanded its product line and partnered with like-minded organizations such as The Haven Partnership. The Haven Partnership focuses on building community housing and providing clean water and proper sanitation, however they are very aware of the shortage of jobs and have included training programs in sewing and carpentry for each of the communities they serve. Together W.O.M.E.N. and Haven started our largest sewing co-op to date for nearly 40 women in the remote town of Gonaives.
2015- W.O.M.E.N. expanded its sales network and partnered with Cap Haitien businesswoman, Chantal Laroche, to open Artisan Boutik located on the upper level of the American Airlines Departure Lounge in the Cap Haitien airport.