Haitian Sa Voix mirrors community’s core values

by Maddie Robertson

Sa Voix, meaning “Her Voice,” is an organization that gives Haitian women the opportunity to express themselves, learn valuable life skills and provide for their families. The Sa Voix community is made up of nine women who sew, paint and design various products. Their crafts, all handmade, include headbands, keychains, wallets, purses and baskets. Each product has a story, and the story of the Sa Voix community as a whole is one worth telling. On Nov. 5, the Marian community hosted an open house to share that story.

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Colored impressed Assistant Director of Student Services Mrs. Mary Steiner and Technology Specialist Mrs. Jane Campbell peruse keychains and wallets. Each item was handmade by a Sa Voix employee and had a unique color palette.

The open house was hosted by head athletic trainer Mrs. Melissa Brusnahan and her daughter, junior Melanie Brusnahan. The two heard about Sa Voix after Melissa got in contact with her cousin who is friends with the founder, Jessica Drogosz. After speaking with Principal Susie Sullivan and Assistant Principal Rochelle Rohlfs, the two were able to secure the Quad area to host the event.

“We were planning on doing it at our house, but we thought more girls would come at Marian,” Melanie said. Indeed, several students, faculty members and Marian community members attended the open house where they had the opportunity to order products, read about Sa Voix’s mission and enjoy complimentary snacks.

As guests watched an informational video about Sa Voix and read the stories of various workers, one thing became clear; the values of the Sa Voix community are much closer to those of the Marian community than one may realize.

Two of Marian’s core values, empowerment and community, were crucial during the formation of Sa Voix and are still valued by the company today. Many of the women who are employed by Sa Voix had no prior sewing skills. With the help of their fellow employees, they quickly acquired the skills and now make an income that allows them to care for their family or send their children to school. Along with empowering one another, Sa Voix stresses the importance of making sure each of their employees feels valued in their community, regardless of their level of education or set of skills. “Sa Voix is empowering them to learn a trade and have a place in their community,” Melissa said. “It really parallels here at Marian.”

True to its mission, Sa Voix prompted many visitors to remember the importance of building up a community. Melanie, for example, wants to follow in Drogosz’s footsteps and work toward bettering underprivileged communities. “This is something I envision myself doing,” Melanie said. Melanie believes this can best be done by offering more service opportunities, especially a potential trip to Haiti, to students in the future.

Melissa would also be interested in hosting a trip to Haiti that would allow Marian girls to serve the community and pursue their passions. “I would like to facilitate a partnership. Girls interested in entrepreneurship can go to Haiti,” Melissa said.

Though no trips have been planned yet, the Marian community is doing all it can to benefit the organization. It is customary for hosts of fairs to receive a free item or a discount from the organization they are promoting.

However, the Brusnahans didn’t profit financially from organizing Sa Voix’s open house. Instead, they reaped the reward of spreading Sa Voix’s message of empowerment, community and the importance of creativity. “Do we get anything through this? No. But it gets the word out there. It gets the mission out there,” Melissa said.

Tasteful tote Totes like one above are hand painted. Snag one of these beautiful totes for $128.

Pretty pouch Each bag is individually produced to provide a unique look. Snatch this unique, hand-crafted bag for $42. 

Cute clutch The project helps to create a community of support for women. Grab this marbled leather clutch for $46.

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