OJFA in Rainbows

The Rainbow Brigade || Lakansyel Squad … One of Project HOPE Art’s happiest afternoons in a long time. With just $20 worth of scrap fabric, 2 pairs of scissors, a flair for playing dress up, elaborate and inventive braiding skills, some portable lights – we wrapped the orphanage in rainbow braids.
Love Wins!

Our Art Director, Rachel Znerold started the Rainbow Braid idea in the States with various Musical Performers. We brought the idea to Haiti, on a small scale, in homage to the deep cultural history of African Braiding. Braiding hair was one of the few practices that slaves could hold onto and continue to openly practice in the New World.

We wanted to create a project that the girls at the orphanage could participate in with almost zero instruction and put their own flair and ideas into it. We wanted a whimsical, happy project. And we wanted to infuse solar lights into the project outcome as this orphanage does not have electricity and it gets dark at 5pm.

So here it is, the The Rainbow Brigade || Lakansyel Squad:

Braids are regarded as a cultural trait of the African people, and they can also be a fashion statement. The history of African tribes and the cultural significance of braiding is deep and long.

Africa is a large continent, which consists of innumerable tribes. The Massai and Zulu are among the primary tribes. Others include:


Tribal girls have varied cultures, and the hairstyles are unique and used to identify each tribe. Braid patterns or hairstyles indicate a person’s community, age, marital status, wealth, power, social position, and religion.

Elaborate patterns are done for special occasions like weddings, social ceremonies or war preparations. People belonging to a tribe can easily be identified by another tribe member with the help of a braid pattern or style.

Immense importance is given to the custom of braiding. The person who braids hair performs it as both a ritual and a social service. It is an art form taught by the senior female member of the family to her daughters and close friends. The person who braids well is considered an expert. The man or woman who braids does it as a social duty. No rewards are expected.


Mesì Gueldy René et Deesse Aishar Delismond for helping ??

-The Rainbow Brigade || Lakansyel Squad

HOPE Art Holiday Wish List

We leave in about two weeks for Haiti. And just like Santa we've made our list and we've checked it twice. Flights are booked. Hotel is confirmed. Shots and medications are in place. We just need a few more items.

Photo by Jeremy Cowart

If you'd like to help us out this holiday season, please choose something from this list.

  • Solar Ipod Player -or- Ipod Speakers
  • Packs and packs of AA Batteries
  • 5 SD Media Cards of 10GB or higher
  • 5 Old Cameras (digital and film)
  • 30 rolls of film and/or disposable cameras
  • 5 journals
  • Pens, markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • 15 lbs Dried Fruit, Nuts, Peanut Butter, Ritz Crackers
  • 5 Personal Mosquito Nets
  • 7-8 Old suitcases or duffle bags
  • Gallon Ziplocks (10 boxes)                                                                                                           
  • Brown paper bags (100 brown bags)
  • Ribbons & dowel sticks

For pickups/delivery in San Francisco/Oakland
Contact: jacq.knapp@gmail.com, emeryayers@gmail.com, mimi@praisecheeses.net

For pickups/delivery in East Bay
Contact: mandydl33@gmail.com

For pickups/delivery on Central Coast/South Bay
Contact: earthartstudio@comcast.net, just_jewlz@hotmail.com