Growing up my family didn’t celebrate Christmas –at least not in the way most Americans do. I realize that is a shocking statement for most people who live in the West. In short, it had a lot to do with the origins of Christmas being more pagan that Christian and historically speaking, Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, historians estimate it to be sometime in the spring. That being said, we still did gather as a family and have a big meal together. For our family, it was never about gifts and getting, it was just about being with each other. In recent years we started incorporating gift giving, which is actually really fun.
The other day I ordered my mom an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker because I knew she would use it and love it. It was due to arrive in 2 days but I couldn’t contain my excitement.
“Mom I just ordered you something and you are going to LOVE it. Are you the kind of person who likes surprises, or would you rather just know? Because I’m the type of person who loves to ruin surprises.” I said.
“Well, generally I love surprises, but I can see that you are really excited and want to tell me.” She said.
“I got you an INSTANT POT!” I blurted out.
She was really excited and happy –especially when it came a day early. The phrase, “It’s better to give than to receive” really is a true.
Before I left for the first part of my trip I reached out to several fair trade companies whose mission I wanted to support. These are companies that are working to improve the quality of life for artisans and impoverished communities all over the world. Here are a list of my favorites:
Ten Thousand Villages was established in 1946 as a Fair Trade Pioneer. For decades they have been working to combat poverty by working with over 20,000 partners in 30 developing countries. Their model is based on offering a fair mutually agreed up on price for the product produced, as well as ensuring the artisans are working in safe work environments. Their vision is to see: “all artisans in developing countries earn a fair wage, be treated with dignity and respect, and to be able to live a life of quality.”
Elegantees is clothing brand that is sewn by women in Nepal who have been rescued from sex trafficking. Their non-profit partner rescues 20,000 women and children every year on the Nepal-India border. Elegantees has now employed 17 women in their sewing center, offering them meaningful work and a fair wage, which is a crucial part to the restoration process. As they grow they hope to employ many more.
The Tote Project is a brand that is working to combat the sex trade. Their tote bags and pouches are sewn in India by women who have made the choice to leave the sex trade and journey into freedom. Additionally, 20% of their profits are donated to Two Wings which is a nonprofit that helps survivors of sex trafficking pursue their dreams.
Hands Producing Hope is a small company with a big vision. They are currently working to transform the lives of individuals in communities in Rwanda, Costa Rica, and refugees in Louisiana by providing the economical, educational, and spiritual resources necessary to empower these communities to rise above poverty.
Be Free Revolution is an organization that is changing the lives of many people in Kenya through teaching sustainable trades, child sponsorships, and mobilizing mission trips for people who want to serve in poor communities. They are doing their best to combat poverty of every kind on every level in Kenya.
From survivors of sex slavery, to women raising handicapped children alone, to those in war torn countries, and those living with HIV/AIDS, Trades of Hope is providing a much needed opportunity for artisans to support themselves and break free from the cycle of poverty. They are changing lives and stories of people from pain and struggle to a story of Hope.
Purpose Jewelry is handcrafted by young women who have been rescued from human trafficking, and each purchase provides freedom, dignity, and hope for these amazing and talented artisans. They also have a non-profit side which provides holistic care for the survivors, which includes education, healthcare, and counseling.
8. Mata Traders
Mata Traders is a fair trade company who’s clothing and accessories are handmade by women in India and Nepal. Each item is an original piece that incorporates a lot of traditional methods such as block printing and embroidery dating back centuries. Mata Traders partners with fair trade companies in India and Nepal that train and employ hundreds of artisans in marginalized communities.
Raven + Lily is a fair trade lifestyle brand that is working with over 1500 hundred at risk women in 10 different countries around the world, offering them a fair wage, a safe and sustainable job, healthcare, and other tools they need to thrive. They also have a microloan program which enables female entrepreneurs to start their own businesses in their communities.