Did you know that when you buy an international trinket, the craftsperson who made your Guatemalan worry dolls or African necklace usually gets only a few pennies? Cut out the middleman by purchasing online at one of these three sites. They each deal directly with artisans who are trying to improve their lives--human trafficking survivors in Uganda, an artisan cooperative in Vietnam, and families in Rwanda recovering from the great losses of genocide. You pay for their cool stuff and they get the money they deserve! 1. Magazine Bead Bracelets ($10 each). Families in Uganda created these bright bracelets by using rolled, shellacked magazine strips for the beads (isn't "shellacked" an amazing word?). The Emancipation Network helps survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery gain economic freedom by selling their fair trade handicrafts at Made By Survivors.
2. Vietnamese Cinnamon Heart Box ($12.50). The use of cinnamon bark is a Vietnamese tradition--and it means this box is not only cute, but also delicious smelling. Global Exchange sells these unique cinnamon-bark containers as part of theirFair Trade Program, which aims to market products made by disadvantaged producers.
3. Agaseke Basket Ornament ($11). Agaseke describes the shape of this basket ornament, which is made in Rwanda with needles and fine sisal thread (a sisal is a plant that looks sort of like a cactus crossed with a palm tree--who knew?). The handmade craft is sold through the Indego Africa Project, which gives 100% of the profits to the artisans for social development and programming.
A nice way to feel good about shopping, no?