Apparel Design Students Support Haitian Kids One Stitch at a Time


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The December 2010 earthquake left thousands of Haitians without basic needs like clean water, food, or clothing. To alleviate these difficult living conditions, students in Sherri Gahring's Apparel Design class partnered with U of M alumna Karen Moen to assemble over 80 garments for children at the Grace Village orphanage in Titanyean, Haiti.


"The apparel design students gained experience using their beginning assembly and design skills to make a difference in the lives of others less fortunate," explained Gahring, "27 students created 42 sundress and 43 jam shorts...which were delivered [to Haiti] by Karen Moen and her team in late November."


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The project started in late 2010 when Gahring met Moen to brainstorm service learning and outreach projects. When Moen, a board advocate for Healing Haiti, heard that design students regularly assembled children's clothes for their fall project, she asked Gahring's Apparel Assembly class to make patterned and solid colored garments for the orphanage.


"My role in all of this was to bridge the two organizations," says Moen, who made an initial trip to Haiti in April 2011 with prototypes to take measurements.


When Moen delivered the finished outfits this November, "The kids were super excited," she recalled, "they got to choose their outfit and these kids don't have many choices. They knew they looked gorgeous!"


You can learn more about College of Design work in Haiti here. You can see Haitian children wearing their garments and peek behind the scenes at our Apparel Design students in action on our Facebook page. For more information about the Apparel Design program, please visit them online. Have you heard about our collaboration with the soon-to-be released documentary, Shelter?


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