I’m putting my shirt on helping out Haiti

David Lees (left) who is going to Haiti, with brother and partner Paul Lees
David Lees (left) who is going to Haiti, with brother and partner Paul Lees
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ETHICAL fashion firm founder David Lees will put the first of his profits to use on a volunteering trip to Haiti next month.

The 25-year-old, of Birdcage Hill, Halifax, and his brother Paul, 24, set up Disaster Wear in the wake of the 2010 earthquake with a pledge to give nearly a quarter of their T-shirt sales profits to aid projects in the Caribbean nation.

“We have been properly selling for three or four months now and we’ve now got what we need to do our first piece of volunteer work,” he said.

David flies there on December 15 and will spend a month working with the Ubuntu-Blox project, which creates building blocks for sustainable housing out of rubble and litter.

The materials are abundant on the streets of Haiti, where there is still much to be done in the way of clearing up and rebuilding.

“They are building a prototype at the base where I’m going to be working and training local people to be able to do it,” said David.

“Our money is going to buy tools and equipment so we’ll be able to help them help themselves.”

More than a million were left homeless by the disaster that killed an estimated 300,000 people last January - forcing many survivors to live in squalid conditions in vast “tent cities” and shanty towns.

“The one we want to go and help in, Cité Soleil, was described by the UN as the worst slum in the world,” said David.

He has stumped up the cost of his own flights and accommodation so all 22.5 per cent of Disaster Wear’s allocated profits goes directly to help the Haitians who so desperately need it.

“A lot of the funding and support for Haiti has now stopped because it’s out of sight, out of mind,” he said.

“Medicine and medical supplies have stopped being sent and the cholera situation is still as bad as it was when I went there a year ago.

“It’s two years down the line and I know from a lot of my friends out there that a lot of buildings still haven’t been cleared and the support they got from the US hasn’t gone to the people who need it

“The people are amazing, the country is amazing - and it still needs help.”

The T-shirts are available from The Cipt in Huddersfield’s Byram Arcade and at clothing with a conscience in Affleck’s Palace, Manchester.

They can also be bought online from www.disasterwear.co.uk