07/29/2010 10:47 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Haiti Rebuild: Local Ts, Local Jobs

What started as a simple query to do the right thing has snowballed into a global search with no end in sight. Why can't volunteer groups and NGO's in Haiti source t-shirts in country and help stimulate the local economy?

I can't justify ordering a small run of 'organic' shirts made in China or Guatemala, shipped to the Unites States then sent to Haiti. This makes no sense and highlights an issue facing many communities recovering from a disaster - without supporting and empowering jobs there is no true recovery.

Thousands of volunteers are roaming the island with freshly printed t-shirts. Shouldn't there be a simple ordering system to support a series of local textile cooperatives. We can even look into supporting up-cycling by screen-printing donated garments that perpetually flood emerging markets. In either option local cooperatives can be supported with small in country orders and create the seed funding needed to grow their organizations.

Today I've heard every reason not to waste my time researching this from no oversight on worker rights to lack of (venture) capital. So where does this leave me? Shirtless and still searching.

ps. If you have suggestions or small businesses worth supporting, post them below.


locally printed shirts in post-tsunami Sri Lanka

UPDATE! We got locally made T's from Haiti. And they look great.