A Different Spin on Black Friday
I just traveled for 10 days in Israel-Palestine with six women who wanted to learn from Israeli and Palestinian human rights activists and peacemakers. I can’t even begin to express what a profound experience that was. In December I’ll be blogging at length about it, but I want to mention just one aspect of the trip today. In two places—a Bedouin village in the Negev desert in Israel, and in Bethlehem in the West Bank—I purchased beautiful traditional weavings and needlework from women who desperately need the income. The women are highly skilled artists and their work is lovely, but since I’m not much of a shopper and I hate dragging excess “stuff” around when I travel, I probably wouldn’t have bought anything—except it truly didn’t feel like “shopping.” It felt more like “investing” in women’s lives, and indeed it was.
In that spirit, I offer the following list of “investment opportunities” for anyone who would like to use Christmas giving to empower hardworking women and men throughout the world. Even if you’re not in a buying mood, simply perusing these websites will educate your mind and open your heart more widely to the world.
One of my favorite organizations is the fair trade company, Trade As One, started by my good friend, Nathan George. I haven’t personally used the apron and napkins below, but all the other items are personal favorites that I use (and give away) regularly.
Small pouch for wallet, phone. People always comment on this little purse, which gives me an opportunity to explain the story behind it.
Large Bag. I have this bag in two sizes and use them for everything from shopping to overnight packing. http://tradeasone.com/shop/purses-bags/handbags-purses/large-tote-dark-blue.html
Greeting Cards. These cost no more than ones you’d buy at the grocery store and they’re really cute. I always keep a few on hand.
Bracelet. This simple cuff goes with everything
Necklace. This adds color to my mostly-black wardrobe; I wear it often and have given many as gifts.
Apron. Super cute for Christmas; would be great with some homemade cookies and a personal recipe.
Napkins. I always use cloth napkins (no, I don’t iron them). These are on my personal wish list. http://tradeasone.com/shop/house-home/kitchen-dining/napkins-red-turquoise-4-pack.html
To Tie on a Gift.
Tom’s Shoes. Tom’s Eyewear
Desiring to help create a new global economy bent toward justice and equality, this company creates opportunities for others by producing relevant and notable t-shirts.
Jedidiah is a humanitarian-based apparel brand aspiring to cultivate change, one garment at a time. Each season, Jedidiah partners with a distinctive and effective non-profit organization to raise money and awareness for life-changing causes. http://www.jedidiahusa.com
Ideas for Business Giving
Flowers. When you order these flowers, 10% goes towards Women for Women International, which serves women in war-torn parts of the world.
Hungry for Change Gift Subscription, $33 a month. Great for special customers, employees, etc.
International Justice Mission. Provide rescue and justice for victims of human trafficking.
World Relief: Food Crisis. This would be great partnered with a food product from Trade As One.
World Vision Micro-Finance
Organizations Suggested by Friends
Bright Endeavors. Handmade, eco-friendly candles and bath salts and Moda Esperanza products
Evergreen Cards. Beautiful hand-cut cards and bookmarks skillfully made by women and individuals with disabilities in Shanxi Province, China.
Global Bag Project. Reusable shopping bags for sustainable incomes produced by Kenyan widows. (My friend Valerie Bell and her sister Karen Mains started this organization.)
Heifer International. Choose a meaningful gift to give a loved one and help children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant. After your donation, you'll have the opportunity to create a printable gift card or e-card to tell your friends and family that you've honored them with a Heifer gift.
Re:New Project/Re:Store. A viable way for refugee women to supplement their income by sewing and/or knitting creative and beautiful products.
Sari Bari. Provides a safe place of employment where women who have been exploited in the sex trade or who are vulnerable to trafficking can experience a new life in the making in Kolkata, India
Imani Workshops. Imani Workshops provides income generating opportunities for artisans in Kenya who have suffered hunger, poverty, and other stigma associated with HIV/AIDS
International Princess Project. Advocating for women enslaved in prostitution.
Noonday Collections. An organization raising money to provided orphan care and prevention
Good Shop. Shop online at your favorite store’s website and a percentage of your proceeds will be donated to charity.
PS: Recently I’ve been reading about the benefits of green tea, so I did a little research on organic, fair trade green tea. This is great for gift-giving—or for taking a relaxing break on a busy day.
Choice Organics, Green Tea with Peach, 20 bags, $5.99
Choice, Moroccan Mint Green Tea as part of sampler pack:
Tea with sweetener, a nice card, and a mug would make a great gift.
Choice Organics, Classic Green Tea, 16 bags, $4.99
Traditional Medicinals Golden Green, 6 boxes of 16 bags, $21.90
Choice Organics, Whole Lead Jasmine Green Pyramids, 3 boxes of 15 bags, $15.05
Numi, Ginger Sun, Lemon-Decaf Green Tea, 3 boxes of 16 bags, $17.83