By Pia Chatterjee
Be it for a birthday, dinner you’re invited to, Christmas or some other happy occasion, you’ll always find someone, somewhere, to give a gift to. Why not use this massive proliferation of chronic gift-giving for a good cause? There now exists a social enterprise for just about every gift on the market, and some products even more creative than the conventional kind. You could much too easily kill two birds with one stone by buying your presents to benefit a social or environmental purpose. Here are 5 socially conscious presents you could make people in your life happy with:
- Divine Chocolate: Divine chocolate is co-owned by 85,000 farmers, members of the cooperative Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana. You can find a number of mouthwatering recipes for desserts, cookies and cocktails on their site, and even order some delicious looking bars of chocolate for less than 5$. Keeping the producers of the product remunerated for their hard work (perhaps) a long way from you are, you would also be able to allow someone to enjoy some fantastic fair trade chocolate
- Rocking Ur Teens: Don’t let the name fool you, this isn’t some run of the mill band camp for your kids. Rocking Ur Teens is Community Interest Company (CIC) based in the UK that aims to bring teenagers together for them to connect with each other and look towards a positive future. Intending to globalize within 5 years, the firm intends to organize teen conferences annually with different themes every year. The conferences give teens between 12 and 14 years of age (usually years 8 and 9 at school) the opportunity to meet each other and create the support system they need to flourish. This year, they focused on providing girls in the UK this opportunity. With the next set of conferences on March 17th, 2016 to include conferences for boys as well, try to pay the 10 pounds to send your kid to participate in this incomparable experience.
- Scarves by Counting Flowers: Counting Flowers produces unique, handmade scarves and shawls, fruit of the hard work of many talented artisans from a number of developing countries such as Afghanistan, Bolivia, Ethiopia, India, Laos, Madagascar and many more. In competition with more large-scale modes of production in their own countries, these artisans who are often members of cooperatives managed by women are given the opportunity to survive in their craft. The quality of their work is also impressive: you can choose between alpaca wool, cashmere, cotton, mohair, pashmina, sheep wool and many more materials to customize your scarf and even filter your gift by the country you would like your purchase to benefit. Purchases currently help 33 artisans and cooperatives in 18 countries. What’s more, everyone can wear scarves – that means you’ve found the dream generic gift!
- Belgravia House of Gifts’ Gourmet Gift Box: This is the perfect present for that one foodie friend. BHG is another CIC that supports and funds local initiatives that try to empower disadvantaged groups. They primarily work with 4Wings, a non-profit that aids women at risk by providing them with employment opportunities and creative therapy to raise self esteem. Their Gourmet Gift Boxes contain only the finest ingredients of the region are packed in a beautifully designed package. Extremely portable, the gift box could even serve for a flawless romantic picnic with your significant other. Each box also comes stocked with a specially designed postcard ready to be stamped with your handwritten and personal touch.
- Global Seesaw’s bags, jewellery and accessories: Give in to the temptation of buying this awesome belt made of recycled tyre. It was made by Global Seesaw, a fairtrade business that functions ethically on all fronts: it creates sustainable employment for women who have been victims of human trafficking, all their profits are re-invested into the cause and they also look into the most modern designs and the possibilities of creation available with recycled materials. When their materials aren’t recycled, they’re perfectly environmentally friendly and organic. You can buy just about anything from Global Seesaw – from bags, jewellery and accessories to bath and body products and homeware. You could redecorate someone’s entire life with things produced by them, and have them feel great about it!
Now you know of top quality socially conscious gifts that will leave both sender and receiver in the highest of spirits, and the world just a step further in the right direction. Happy shopping!