College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > School of Public Service > About > News & Events > Making necklaces and a difference in Haiti
By Sarah M. Luyengi | School of Public Service
“In retrospect, I realize that one may have a vision of what
they think they want to do,” Coralie Noisette said as she reflected upon her
life choices. “Nevertheless, as one goes through life … they may discover
that what they once thought was their path is not where they are meant to be.”
She added: “It takes a wise person to really get to know
himself or herself and understand their own truth before committing their life
to a professional path.”
Noisette, a School of Public Service graduate, found that
her path led to Haiti and U R Source, a new social enterprise that she created
with her sister, Valerie.
U R Source creates job opportunities and promotes
spirituality in collaboration with local organizations and artisans. The
company employs three young Haitian women who are working on their first
product: Mala necklaces. These necklaces are used for mantra meditation, prayer
or simply fashion.
The U R Source website says: “The Noisettes recognized that
sustainable initiatives, which empower vulnerable populations, reduce
inequalities and address the root causes of poverty make a powerful impact
within communities. However, they observed that spirituality and personal
transformation rarely is factored in as an important element in development.”
Raised by Haitian parents, Noisette grew up in the Chicago
suburbs. Her family roots in the Caribbean country inspired a career in a field
that could make a difference in the developing nation. She got on that path
with a B.A. in international public service in 2010.
But after spending 10 months teaching English in Lille,
France, Noisette knew that she needed to pursue a master’s degree to be more
effective in the international field. After enrolling in the SPS, Noisette
began to grasp the interrelation between sustainability and development in the
program’s “Sustainable Development & NGOs” course, the decision-making
process in the “Ethical Leadership” course and the concept of cultural
competency in an interdisciplinary course called “Intercultural Communication.”
She said other classes helped her throughout her program,
and once she completed her master’s in international public service in 2013,
she said she bought a one-way ticket to Haiti so she could implement her
knowledge and “hoped for the best.”
Her first job was with a small international NGO and then
with the Haitian government and the World Bank. She said she continued in the
development field as a short-term consultant for a midterm evaluation of a
In each experience, she said, she called upon her SPS
background, from research evaluations to business development.
Asked about the next steps on her path, Noisette said she
will devote her time to building U R Source. She said she thinks the company
can develop contacts, business skills and resources through networking and
collaborating. She said she and her sister aim to create a cultural center in
the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petionville, where they’d like to build a
workshop, art gallery and coffee shop for U R Source.
Noisette believes that students with the right mindset can
achieve their goals.
“You’ll start to see how your hard work in class pays off
because you’re now equipped with rich knowledge … from SPS to help you
succeed,” she said.