9 Gifts That Do Good and Give Back
It’s wonderful that more options are popping up to purchase products that provide needed income in areas of great poverty, as well as fair trade alternatives. I set out to find gifts that do even more, such as provide education or support to the impoverished artisans, are made of recycled or natural materials to be kind to our earth, etc. My other criteria was that they ship to Canada and the United States and in many of the following suggestions they also ship to other countries, as well some have retails locations.
1. The Leakey Collection
Based in Kenya, Africa, over 1,400 Maasai create elegant, handcrafted products including sustainable jewellery made from natural elements, a skin care line, and home interior accessories. They are members of the Fair Trade Federation and Green America. In addition The Leakey Collection carries out local initiatives, including donating five per cent of all sales to support health benefits, education, and infrastructure. Website: www.leakeycollection.com/
2. Krochet Kids
Three guys, all college friends who knew how to crochet, started Krochet Kids which now employs over 150 people in Uganda and Peru to create these unique pieces. Not only are people gainfully employed, but they also receive education in English literacy, and mentorship in personal budgeting, savings and loaning practices and business development. Their motto: ”Buy a Hat. Change a Life.” What’s really cool is that every product is hand signed by the woman who made it! Truly, a piece of art. Website: www.krochetkids.org
3. Canaan Fair Trade
Canaan Fair Trade sells olive oil and other delicacies (olives, sundried tomatoes, cous cous, za’atar, tahini, gift baskets and soaps) produced by over 1,700 small farmers from marginalized Palestinian rural communities. They are organized in village cooperatives and represented by the Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA). Social and economic empowerment programs are implemented, and farmers also receive an education in sustainable practices.
One dollar from each olive oil tin sold goes to the Tree of Life program, which supplies olive trees to farmers. You can also buy trees as gifts with $20 purchasing 3 trees. In addition, the Canaan Scholarship Fund develops and supports youth programs from pre-college through higher education in Palestine. And if that wasn’t enough, they also support woman owned cooperatives through a microloan program, which anyone can help support. Website: www.canaanusa.com
4. Sseko Designs
Sseko Designs makes beautiful leather sandals with interchangeable fabric straps that can be styled in hundreds of ways. They use fashion to provide full-time employment for Ugandan women at above a fair wage, as well as employment during the 9 month gap between high school and university for those wanting to pursue post-secondary education. For women in this latter group, 50% of their salary is put into savings and at the end of the 9 months, Sseko Designs provides a university scholarship that match 100% of their savings. They ship worldwide, and have many retailers. Website: www.ssekodesigns.com
5. Made by Survivors
Made by Survivors is a nonprofit organization which employs and educates survivors of slavery and other human rights abuses. They provide fair wages and 100% of the profits go to support rescue and aftercare. Survivor artisans create beautiful jewellery, bags, gifts and cards, as well as items for kids. All of their centers are designed so they can be independent, self-sustaining, and survivor-owned within three years of launch. Website: www.madebysurvivors.com
Punjammies is part of the International Princess Project, who advocates for women enslaved in prostitution in India. Women who leave the brothels are provided occupational training and a job at their sewing centre to create pajamas from beautiful Indian fabrics. …Continue Reading