The holiday season is a time to feel gratitude for the roof over your head and your family’s health. It is also a time that might make you want to give back. There are so many ways to share your appreciation – a thank you note to your mail carrier, an extra tip at your coffee shop, a special card to your healthcare providers (you get the idea…). This year, we ask you to consider using your purchasing power to help improve the lives of women in the Third World.
Ninety-eight per cent of clothing worn in the US is made in other countries, and mostly by Third World women. When you buy quality fashion accessories that are ethically produced, you are choosing to employ skilled women, and you're helping to provide a real living wage for them. This generates national revenue for developing countries and helps end dependency on foreign aid.
We are in a bad habit of giving cash aid to countries for development assistance and thinking it will solve their problems. When a charity group asks you directly for a donation, it seems like an easy way to help. And heck, we have a heart and mean well, so we give money. The evidence, however, overwhelmingly states that aid in the form of cash to developing nations is making their growth slower and their poor poorer. There are better ways to help those in need.
Break the cycle and empower women to achieve real equality by embodying the “Trade, Not Aid” concept. This idea birthed the Fair Trade movement in the 1960s. It enables businesses in poor countries to employ women at living wages in safe working conditions.
A dynamic aspect of Trade Not Aid is that it embraces the art and skills of the local women who make the garments. They get to share a piece of their heritage and history with the world; an opportunity that is only possibly through your educated purchases.
The design of the products are as unique as the places in which they were made. Rather than being mass produced in a factory, these clothes preserve a piece of culture that might otherwise be lost. And, buyers get a unique piece of wearable art.
A couple of our favorites are Project Have Hope’s Bone and Paper Earrings, made in the Acholi Quarter of Uganda, and Emilime’s traditionally made, exceptionally stylish, Alpaca Beanie Hat from the highlands of Peru.
One Savvy Mother sources companies that believe in empowering the artists. By presenting you with beautiful items created by small scale, artisan manufacturers, we hope to help break the cycle of poverty. Keep your eye out for our designers with an eco-ranking “Trade Not Aid”, which means it is produced by a company promoting free trade with women-owned businesses.