This year, I started minimizing my life and asking myself some hard questions about the things I found there. I can’t tell you exactly what brought it all on. But it is intricately connected to the work I create and what I believe is good and right in the world.
What was I wearing? Who was making it? How were they treated? What was I eating? What was I putting in or on my body? The answer every time was some billion dollar industry with little regard for human life. I realized that I had bought into a value system that I didn't connect with and I started making some changes.
It’s been a bit overwhelming to cull through my life in this manner. But I decided to incorporate the lessons I was learning into my gift giving. My search lead me to carefully consider the consequences of my choices. I still bought gifts this year, but I purchased items that came with a side of good.
I put together Do Good Gift Guide to share some of the wonderful companies and organizations I've discovered on this journey. It feels great to give a gift and do some good in the world at the same time. Isn't that what the Christmas spirit is really about?
Nisolo is a company that works with local artisans in Peru and Africa to create beautiful shoes and jewelry. These products are created by master craftsman who are paid a fair wage for their craft. Their customers gain style, quality, and the ability to make purchases that change lives. They facilitate international market access, pay above fair trade wages, skill training and safe working conditions for their producers. My chukka boots are one of my favorite purchases to date---beautiful, comfortable, and I feel like I did a bit of good in the world when I wear them.
Watsi enables anyone to directly fund life-changing healthcare for people around the world. They help people like Nairorie, a one year old girl in Tanzania who was critically malnourished due to a operable health issue her parents could not afford. See how Nairorie received care here and how you can help other people like her by giving a gift card to Watsi to someone you love this year. You can also give a monthly gift like I do to this amazing organization. The best part? 100% of your donation funds healthcare.
Knotty Gal: Be Knotty Do Good
Knotty Gal is the producer of one-of-a-kind knotted, handmade accessories for a cause! It is the brainchild of a NT-based mother-duo. Knotty Gal’s pieces are designed by the pair and hand-crafted by Mama Rahman, who brings her experience crafting intricate knots. Delightfully “knotty” by nature, the line is equally as “nice” in purpose. Knotty Gal is the result of the founders’ desire to raise funds for the Bhandari Girls’ School in Bogra, Bangladesh. Founded in 1962 by Nur-E Farhana’s great-grandfather, the institution was one of the first of its kind in the region.
UNICEF Market Gifts
UNICEF Market was conceived as an online store for people shopping for unusual, well-designed and beautifully crafted items. UNICEF partner with NOVICA who works directly with artisans through their regional offices in Asia, Africa and Latin America. They have built a proprietary infrastructure enabling purchases to go from the country of origin directly to the consumer. You can find amazing handcrafted products that go to both the artisans and to help UNICEF save and protect children.
Raven + Lily
Raven + Lily was created to alleviate poverty among women. Raven + Lily currently helps employ over 1,500 marginalized women at fair trade wages to give them access to a safe job, sustainable income, health care, education, and a real chance to to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. Raven + Lily is committed to providing products that are made by hand, follow fair trade standards, and honor our eco-friendly commitment.
What companies or organizations are doing good in your world? I’d love to learn more about them! Please leave me a comment below!