Recently, Urban Zen had a fantastic opportunity to connect and collaborate with Patti Hansen and Patricia Arquette to distribute survival bags to women living in tent camps in Haiti. The project was borne out of an inspired conversation that our founder, Donna Karan, had with her long-time friend Patti Hansen. Patti and Molly Madden recently launched a new collection of bags called, “Hung on U,” and Donna immediately thought of Haiti. A few conversations later, the idea of the Survival Bags came into being. Patti provided the bags and Patricia Arquette distributed them to the women she works with through her GiveLove Foundation in Haiti.
The beautiful bags were filled with the essential items needed most by the women living under the difficult circumstance of tent life including: underwear, plumpy nut nutrition bars, a poncho, a pair of flip flops, a whistle, a flashlight and purified water tablets.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Patricia Arquette who distributed the bags. We chatted with her about all things Haiti and the experience of giving love by giving out the survival bags.
Here, we share our conversation to you:
Urban Zen: Can you tell us a little bit about the work you’re doing in Haiti?
Patricia Arquette: GiveLove started working in Haiti right after the earthquake in one of the largest tent camps in Citi Soleil. We realized right away that the lack of sanitation was a public health disaster. After learning more about Haiti, it became obvious to us that the lack of sanitation was a systemic problem even before the earthquake and 80% of the rural people had no clean water or toilets. Only the wealthiest people in Port-au-Prince have access to adequate sanitation. We couldn’t turn away from the fact that poor sanitation causes more deaths than HIV and malaria combined, and sadly diseases like cholera kill children and the elderly who are most vulnerable to infection. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be consumed with finding affordable sanitation solutions for the poorest people or have to understand pathogen death rates. The system that we’ve chosen to implement in Haiti is called thermophilic composting, and it’s a very simple and easy way to completely sanitize waste and convert it into compost that can be used for agriculture and reforest Haiti.
Urban Zen: A Conversation with Patricia Arquette