GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK
Here is how the products you are buying and the brands behind them are making a positive impact on the world.
HAND IN HAND SOAP
Hand in Hand Soap was started in 2011 by two social entrepreneurs who believe that business can do more than just make money. Courtney and Bill understood the difficulty that most non-profits face trying to obtain funding so they set out to start a business based on sustainable giving. By directly tying charitable donations to the sale of an everyday product, Hand in Hand is able to give soap and clean water to those in need and save lives without depending on a single donation. While the primary mission of Hand in Hand is saving lives, they immediately realized the environmental responsibility that goes along with creating and selling bath and body products. Understanding the environmental impact, Courtney and Bill set out from day one to create products which were as eco-friendly as possible. They wanted to be proud of and develop a product that was made with sustainable resources and harvested ethically. As such, Hand in Hand's products are as natural and fair trade as they could make them. Hand in Hand also provide essential small business loans that empower entrepreneurs in developing countries to create jobs and strengthen their communities.
Woven Promises is partnered with a workshop in Addis Ababa which is owned and managed by Kathy Marshall, a Canadian woman, whose work with NGO's brought her and her husband to Ethiopia many years ago. Kathy realized that the best way to lift up the proud and beautiful people of Ethiopia was to create sustainable employment. For this reason, she opened up the workshop nearly 15 years ago. Each year, Woven Promises has been able to increase the number of families that they support through providing jobs. Their workshop creates positive work opportunities with an emphasis on employment for women. The workshop has 52 on-site employees and 70 home-based workers. Employees have a sustainable income with a permanent contract, monthly salary, paid vacation, a pension, maternity leave, medical coverage, and time off for pursuing their education. Women make up 50% of the staff and hold nearly 75% of the management positions. Employees have many opportunities to collaborate and attend workshops to improve their understanding of running all aspects of the business or enhance their skills in other areas including personal finance.
THE MONKEY PROJECT
The Monkey Project's founder, Nubia Echevarria, moved to her parent's native country of Peru for a year. While living in the small town of Huancavo, known as the Artisan capital of Peru, Nubia was inspired by the talent the native artisans possessed. This beautiful mountain town, nestled in the heart of the Andes, was rich in craftsmanship but lacked work opportunity. Nubia wanted to provide a platform for these artisans and their talent. This was the catalyst for The Monkey Project. The Monkey Project believes that love is the most powerful force in the world. As a social enterprise, they express that love through their commitment to fair-trade business practices. They provide work to talented Peruvian women who hand-crochet each of their lovable sock monkeys while also educating the younger generation on social issues and the concept of giving back.
TEACH TWICE ORGANIZATION
Teach Twice is a social venture that educates children and their communities through stories and the exchange of culture. In the Teach Twice model, a single book - written by authors from a developing country - provides parents in the global marketplace stories to read their children, and gives financial support to schools and students in the country from which the book came. Each book will contain an illustrated children's story featuring a specific country. Authors and their communities will be empowered through expression and the profits from their work, while readers will learn about different cultures. One Teach Twice book enhances the education of two children and two communities that are worlds apart, yet connected through a shared commitment to education, and a desire to learn from books and from each other.
Flora Stationery blossomed from a study abroad trip co-founder, Ashley, took to Kosovo. While she was there, she met an inspiring young woman who struggled to afford a college education due to means outside of her control. Determined to create a sustainable solution for funding access to higher education for young women in developing countries, Ashley and her twin sister, Victoria founded Flora Stationery. Utilizing a portion of the proceeds from Flora Stationery product sales, they cover the tuition fees for young woman in Kosovo to enroll in the University of Prishtina. In the past 18 months, they have supported over 70 scholarships. For the Spring 2016 semester, they will be dispersing 26 scholarships supporting both tuition and book fees.
WOOD CARVERS OF KENYA
The Wood Carvers of Kenya gain incomes through the work of their hands, while continuing to practice craft forms handed down through the generations or learned in response to environmental surplus. Swahili introduces modern, creative designs and materials to skilled weavers, carvers, sculptors and textile workers. In doing so, they hope to increase both the flow of fairly traded African products around the world and the export of income, ideas, and accord to talented artisans across Africa.
Quazi Design designs for sustainable change and social impact, creating responsible and thoughtful products by transforming discarded waste magazines into original accessories and interiors. Based in Swaziland, all our products are hand made by local women, empowering them through skill sharing and a living wage. They believe that craftsmanship and ethical production could prove to be a vital economic sector for Africa. They want to change the perception of recycled materials by developing innovative techniques combined with locally sourced environmentally friendly or recycled materials. Quazi Design was started in 2009 in order to create much needed employment in Swaziland, South Africa. They started with the concept of a simple rolled paper bead earring displayed on a card, employing one artisan, believing in the potential to have a positive impact. Their workshop is situated in Sidwashini, in the industrial area of Mbabane, the capital city of Swaziland. Their women artisans are employed full-time with permanent contracts, giving them job security and a living wage. Most of their artisans were previously unemployed and on average each has 7 dependents.
Prosperity Candle is a social enterprise, designed from the start to do good in the world. They invest in women entrepreneurs to help end poverty. Candles are more than a beautiful product - they can create the opportunity for families to thrive. From pillars made by Iraqi widows, to re-purposed glass votives from Haiti, to unique rice bowl candles poured by refugees resettled in the U.S., every candle is handmade by a woman artisan rebuilding her life. Each tells the story of a brighter future for us all.