This week on Oprah's Next Chapter, Oprah ventures out on her own in Haiti to speak with three powerhouse women, including Donna Karan. She discovers the real hope for Haiti through the people and the art of the country.
Ariana Manassero, at the age of eight, had a dream to build an orphanage in Haiti. She had sponsored a little boy; she studied and learned about Haiti and the children of the country. She was moved to her core. She began to dream about Haiti and couldn't stop talking about it.
Eleven years later, at 19, she and her family are in Haiti running that dream. She says she was given a vision when she was a young girl. Her mother and father, Bill and Sue, talked to their church for sponsorship to go on a mission to Haiti when Ariana was eleven. They went. Shortly after the trip they sold their California home and moved to Haiti where they began The Lighthouse orphanage.
The Lighthouse has 47 children, ages 3-18. There are boys and girls. Bill and Sue say that their children, at the Lighthouse, will be the ones that change the nation of Haiti. Prior to the January 2010 earthquake there were 380,00 orphaned children. After the quake that numbered doubled.
When Oprah asked Ariana how it feels to honor her vision, she responded that she wants to play the vision forward. She wants these children to hold onto their own vision and see it happen.
Donna Karan was in Haiti and Oprah met up with her. Donna introduced Oprah to Magalie, the business owner of Caribbean Craft. This wonderful artisan shop exports Haitian art throughout the world. Magalie employs 349 artists and provides meals and health benefits to her employees. Many of the items are for sale at Anthropology and West Elm. Art is central to the lives of the Haitian people. Caribbean Craft offers many of their employees a stepping stone to a better life, a way to get out of the tents that many still live in.
Donna Karan began going to Haiti shortly after the earthquake. She began Urban Zen to help bring more awareness and assistance to Haiti. She said she feels that she has only scratched the surface of Haiti's possibilities. She is in the process of collaborating with other organizations to help bring teaching, medical systems, and general education to the people of Haiti.
Oprah asked Donna, "What is it that draws you here, to Haiti?" She replied that it is the spirit and soul, the artistry of the people and the heart of the country. She said when she's in New York she feels exhausted, but when she's in Haiti she's full of energy. She comes to the country at least once a month. She believes that philanthropy and commerce are tied tightly together. Donna is hopeful that others will be inspired to join the mission of restoring Haiti.
If you're interested in helping Haiti and the people of Haiti log on to www.Jphro.org or text 41010 for a $10 donation.
Oprah's Next Chapter airs on OWN 9/8c.