Mother’s Day is fast approaching. How do we honor the generous mothers in our life? There is more than one way, yes, but this year, I want to encourage you to consider multiplying your generosity with gifts that not only give once, but twice and perhaps more.
I know we’ve all heard of fair-trade coffee and chocolate but what about cruelty-free leather journals, or jewelry made by women who are at high risk of human trafficking? I love the idea of handmade gifts, buying local, as well as supporting our fellow mamas on Etsy, but I’m also a big advocate of global spending, for as long as our money nourishes the well-being of our neighbors across the globe. Especially those who have to work harder against systemic injustices. Enter Fair Trade.
Fair Trade: More Than Just Fair Wages
What is fair trade? From the Fair Trade Federation:
- Paying a fair wage in the local context
- Offering employees opportunities for advancement
- Engaging in environmentally sustainable practices
- Being open to public accountability
- Building long-term trade relationships
- healthy and safe working conditions within the local context
- Providing financial and technical assistance to producers whenever possible
- Ensuring that there is no abuse of child labor
But what is the essence of fair trade? That everyone who walks on this earth have equal dignity and right to what’s fair and good. That all our actions affect each other. And that we are all accountable to each other and for each other. That’s my simple definition of fair trade.
And what better way to model this to our children by honoring the mothers in our lives with a gift that ultimately symbolises the essence of motherhood: holistic nurturing, care for all. So without further ado, here are some gifts from Global Exchange for you to consider giving this Mother’s Day. (You can click on the banner on the upper right column if you want to go to their site. And, oh yes, I am an affiliate and buying any item through my links will earn me a teeny bit of commission for a cup of coffee!)
Some Nourishing Gifts For Your Consideration
Raw Silk Scarves Raw silk shawls add just the right touch to that little black dress and can add chic glamour to a white t-shirt and jeans. Beautifully textured, each shawl is handwoven and eco-dyed. Brought to you by Kopnoi, which means Little Frog in the Lao language, is a Fair Trade business located in Luang Prabang, Laos. Kopnoi’s mission is to promote the best that Laos has to offer on the world market. Income generated through craft sales helps sustain Laos’ economy and provide villages a better quality of life. It also encourages the celebration of Lao culture and keeps it alive for future generations.
Gemstone Bracelet and Earring Set These hand-crafted sterling silver lotus earrings were made in the Balinese village of Singapadu. Each piece is exquisitely handcrafted, using unique and painstakingly detailed techniques, which are passed down through families for generations. Paradiso, a long-time Fair Trade partner, has worked closely for two decades with small families in this village. As each piece is entirely hand-fabricated, no two are exactly identical; each is an individual work of art.
Singaraja Turquoise Earrings These Turquoise Earrings feature hand-formed sterling wire and tiny silver balls in a solid silver square shape. Each of the silver balls is individually crafted and affixed, and the delicate placement of even one tiny ball would be a tremendous challenge to even the most highly skilled metal smith! As each piece is entirely hand-fabricated, each is an individual work of art. Turqoise is the birthstone for December. Choose a Native Leaf Jewelry Bag to make your gift extra special!
Simple Sampler Basket The Fair Trade Simple Sampler offers a small taste of different Fair Trade commodities, beautifully displayed in a Natural Hand-woven Kaisa Grass Basket from Bangladesh. Filled with: Equal Exchange Organic Breakfast Blend Coffee Equal Exchange Organic Hot Cocoa Mix Divine Milk Chocolate bar x1 Choice Organic Earl Grey Tea All Global Exchange Gift Baskets are packaged using 100% Bio-degradable and recycled materials.
Rwandan Laptop Sleeve Rwandan Laptop Sleeve is vibrant, quilted and offers padded protection for your laptop. You can carry it as a clutch or in your favorite tote, pack or briefcase. Secured with a large fabric-covered button closure and available in the classic Rwandan fabric known as wheat flower – simple flowers and leaves in warm tones of orange and navy with ruby highlights, swaying against a background of soft wheat- the inside is lined in navy blue. The women of the INEZA cooperative are survivors of genocidal rape, but rather than focusing on the horrors of the Rwandan genocide they are speaking to the power of their communities and working towards a better future for themselves, their families and their nation. INEZA was founded by WE-ACTX to develop a sustainable source of income for women on HIV treatment. The women who make up the cooperative are paid weekly wages, receive transportation and food supplements, and are provided with HIV care and treatment – and yoga!
LapTop Bag This durable laptop bag is great for work or school. Each bag is designed with two cushioned sections that protect your laptop. Each bag features one large zipper pocket, two small pockets, and two pen holders. Adjustable strap has extra padding for slinging over your shoulder. A lightweight flap protects and secures your laptop with Velcro fasteners. Bags are brought to you by Handmade Expressions. Handmade Expressions promotes high quality hand-crafted goods created by artisans in India. Their goods are sourced through Fair Trade and they partner with artisan cooperatives, helping them create products that are tailored for international markets and provide them with sustained employment. The artisans produce art forms native to their regions and use natural dye and fiber materials wherever possible.
Cruelty-Free Leather Journals The perfect journal, featuring 100% tree-free paper sheets made of recycled cotton rag, and a slip on cruelty-free leather which comes from animals that died naturally, and it can be refilled with new blank refills. Choose from two different hand embossed journals: A journal with inspirational wording such as “BE yourself, BE happy, BE positive” or the journal with the entire globe beautifully drawn on the back and front cover. (See alternative view pictures)This group trains the local villagers in paper art and provides sustainable employment, fair wages and good working conditions. The journals are made in Rajasthan, India, an area that is mostly vegetarian, and where animals are great assets around the households, so killing them for their skin does not make sense, however using the leather when the animal has died does.
Kitchen Apron Stay clean while cooking with this full length 100% cotton apron. Two spacious patchwork utensil pockets to hold all you need and a pocket for you cell phone! These aprons are made in a cooperative headed by a retired art teacher in Thailand. All members are women, and the primary goal is to encourage the younger generation to carry on the art of sewing and handwork despite technological advancement. Choose from Black with blue pockets, light brown, green or red (see alternative views). Color of patchwork pockets may vary.
Yoga Mat Bag Perfect for the Yogi on the go, this hand-woven yoga mat bag has a traditional Guatemalan Solola patterned pocket with zipper for storing keys or your cell phone. Also includes a shoulder strap and double pull-cord side closure. Made by Mayan women using the Ikat tie-dye technique. The female producers from this Fair Trade cooperative, primarily widows and their daughters, came together after the violence in Guatemala during the 1980’s to earn a living by weaving finely woven back strap pieces using traditional techniques.
Aromatherapy Gift Set Sit back, relax, and let everything go. An aromatherapy gift set will help you unwind. Designed and handmade in a women-owned candle making business in Chiang Mai, Thailand.Mini Aromatherapy Gift Set comes packaged in a handmade mulberry paper box and includes: Three Colorful Handmade Candles Ten Musk Scented Incense Ten Jasmine Incense Cones Ceramic Leaf Incense Holder