When the idea of a doll is considered in African culture, they are usually not children's playthings, but rather objects that are laden with ritual and religious associations within the community.
The Ndebele women of South Africa traditionally made these beautiful dolls to give young woman at the time of marriage. In recent years these dolls have become one of the many handmade and fair-trade crafts sold in order to support the economies of women in South Africa.
The Ndebele (pronounced in-da-bey-lee) is one of the smallest groups of people living in Southern Africa, they are noted for their extraordinarily beautifully painted homes of brilliant colors. Their clothing is similarly colorful. The bead work on these Ndebele dolls is as detailed as the clothing of the women themselves.
These beautiful handmade and fairtrade beaded dolls are now being made in more contemporary colours for a growing Western market. Making these dolls enables more than 70 women to enjoy the flexibility of working from home, and the ability to earn an independent income in an area where there are very few job opportunities. The dolls are ornamental, and are meant to be kept in the home of the recipient to watch over them and ensure them a blessed journey through life.
If you have been shopping recently you will have no doubt discovered that many shops sell almost exactly the same mass produced thing and finding an original and well made gift for a child is very difficult. Pebble toys are the exact opposite. Affordable, machine washable and gorgeous each one is unique and simply delightful.
Pebble Toys are a lovely collection of hand knitted and crocheted soft toys ranging from the sweetest little owl and pixie rattles to bright green dinosaurs. Pebble brings smiles not only to the faces of the children who are lucky enough to own a Pebble toy but to the amazing women who make these lovely things. By simply buying a Pebble soft toy you are helping women and children in Bangladesh to earn a decent living Pebble is part of the nonprofit organization Hathay Bunano that is based in Bangladesh. The main goal of the organisation is to create flexible job opportunities for women in rural Bangladesh who have no source of income.
The workers co-operative was set up by Samantha Morshed to provide fairly paid work for women in rural communities. Traditionally women have had to leave their communities and move to Dhaka to earn money, and Dhaka is a very harsh city to live in. The traffic is horrific, the electricity supply unreliable and if you are poor you are likely to be living in extremely overcrowded and dirty conditions .
Pebble toys are hand made, cotton crochet toys that offer hope to the women who make them and joy to the children who own them..
They are gorgeous, unique, affordable and fair trade. Can't get better than that!
Delicately hand carved by skilled Kenyan artisans the soapstone hippos are evidence of the talent and imagination of those who create them.
Kisii stone or soapstone is mined in Kenya.
An entire family is usually involved in the carving of these Fair-Trade ornaments. Men do the initial carving, using a large knife to form the rough shapes and a smaller knife to carve the intricate details. After the piece is sanded smooth, the women take over. First, they sand wash the stone pieces, sun-dry them, and paint on the designs.The stones colour varies so each piece is dyed before the patterns are carved.The sale of these carvings brings valuable employment to an economically deprived area.
• Fairtrade is an ethical certification system and movement with a people first approach to trade. Fairtrade offers farmers and workers in developing countries a better deal– the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their future. Fairtrade offers consumers a powerful way to reduce poverty and instigate change through their everyday shopping.
WHY IS FAIRTRADE IMPORTANT
• Poverty remains widespread amongst tea, coffee, cocoa, cotton sports ball producers around the world, who face an uncertain future due to range of factors including volatile world prices which have left many struggling to support themselves and their families.
THE FAIRTRADE DIFFERENCE
• Today more than six million people – farmers, producers, workers and their families – across 58 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean benefit from the Fairtrade system.
Fairtrade delivers a better deal for farmers and producers in the developing world through the Fairtrade standards:
_ The Fairtrade Price - a designated fair and stable price for most products, aimed at
covering the cost of sustainable production and helping protect them from damaging
fluctuations in world market prices.
_ The Fairtrade Premium - an additional sum of money for investment in social, economic and environmental development - helping them grow their businesses and invest in their communities by building roads, schools and hospitals.
_ Security of long-term contracts and access to pre-financing
_ Improved working conditions through core International Labor Organization (ILO)
_ Requiring environmentally sustainability farming and production practices.
_ Providing democracy within decision making processes including Fairtrade Premium use.
• A product is Fairtrade Certified if it carries the Fairtrade Label – an easy
way for consumers to recognise and choose products that have met internationally agreed Fairtrade Standards.
• A product bearing the Fairtrade Label means independent certification
against the Fairtrade standards has taken place at each step of the commercial supply chain: FLO-CERT certifies all Fairtrade producer organisations and is the only ISO 65 accredited certification body for an ethical label.
• In Australia, common Fairtrade Certified & Labelled products include coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate,hot chocolate, cotton and sports balls. Fairtrade Certified & Labelled rice, sugar and quinoa are also available. A variety of these products can be found in major supermarkets, independent retailers, organic and health food stores; through office supply companies; as well as hundreds of cafes across the country. A number of major coffee chains now have their own Fairtrade blends and several Australian airlines serve Fairtrade tea, coffee and chocolate on their flights.
Kenana Knitters knitted jungle fun puppets are created from all natural home spun wool. They are handmade, Fair-trade toys and adorable each with a distinct individual style. The beautifully knitted hand-puppets are eco-friendly, the colour for the wool made with plants. Each cute animal puppet is signed by its maker - signatures which represent the pride and newfound independence that has grown among these women.
These stunning handmade and fairtrade cushion covers from South Africa are just superb, each cushion carefully and painstakingly embroidered by hand. Decorated in a contemporary pattern depicting African animals they are both a striking and elegant addition to any home. Each wonderful cushion cover is unique and is signed in needlework by the woman who made it.
Beaded one-of-a-kind pieces made in the townships of South Africa is art that really makes a difference
Monkeybizis a South African non-profit organization of over 450 women, who create unique beadworks for sale, rekindling the ancient art and craft of South African beadwork. The women, mostly from the very poor Townships of Cape Town suffuse the beadworks with the colors, textures, stories, humour and expressions of Southern Africa. It is the very personal inspiration and interpretation of each artist that brings such energy, life and spirit to each one-of-a-kind creation.
All of the profits from the sales of artworks are reinvested back into community services, including an HIV wellness clinic, weekly soup kitchens, yoga, drama and choir groups, as well as a burial fund for artists and their families.
Monkeybiz artworks are pricey by comparison with mass-produced pieces. But the premium covers much more than the superior quality and individual expression of each unique artwork. Buyers know that they are also providing fair compensation to the artist, and that any additional profit is not for middlemen, but for desperately needed community services.
Monkey Biz is inspirational and we could really learn something from this beautiful company that uses their art to make a difference.
First a solid model is made by the designer. A master mould is then made from this original model and this is used for production. After the items are taken from the mould, excess clay is removed and the items are smoothed. A pattern is then etched into the wet clay. The first firing, also called the bisque firing, is done in an electric kiln at a temperature of 1000°C. It takes place once the clay has dried out sufficiently. Once the first firing has taken place the items are known as bisque ware. The painters then hand-paint the bisque ware with Raku glaze and small brushes. Each item is fired again this time in a Raku kiln. While the items are still red hot, the kiln cover is removed. the red hot clay body comes into contact with the much colder air around it and the glaze cracks as a result. The still-hot items are transferred to a drum of sawdust. The Raku items smoulder in the sawdust and the resulting smoke penetrates the fine cracks in the glaze. The cracks become black as a result of this process. and this gives each piece of pottery its distinctive and unique appearance.
Spring and summer are favourite seasons for many of us and the one thing we all dislike is the mosquito invasion.
A good insect repellent is an absolute must, preferably one that is not loaded with questionable chemicals.
DEET, is the most commonly used insect repellent , it is a highly effective repellent that has been commonly used by since the 1960′s. But many people have sensitivities to this potent chemical and some studies have indicated it may be even be a weak neurotoxin! A very pleasant and effective alternative is now being made by a Fair-trade organisation, Lulu Life in the Sudan, it is wild harvested Shea butter with added lemon eucalyptus oil, a natural, plant-based insect repellent, which has been proven highly effective against mosquitoes.
Lemon eucalyptus oil, derived from eucalyptus leaves, is a natural mosquito repellent. It has been approved as effective and safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is recommended by the CDC as a means to prevent West Nile infection. A 2002 study in the New England Journal of Medicine compared different synthetic and herbal repellents and concluded that the herbal repellents that contain a high concentration of lemon eucalyptus oil were very effective.
Not only is Lulu Life Shea Mosquito Repellent a natural product that is made by a Fair-trade women's organisation it has a pleasant fresh lemony fragrance - and most importantly it works!
Fair-Trade allows you to play an influential role in international commerce simply by being conscientious about the kind of products you buy.
You don’t need to change any of your purchasing habits to become an active participant in changing the world. Buy coffee, tea, chocolate, clothing, and craft items same as you’ve always done. The only adjustment that you will make is to purchase Fair Trade products.
Fairtrade is when everybody involved in a product makes a fair, sustainable living from the product.
This includes the craftsmen and growers. For far too long artisans and farmers in under developed countries have been taken advantage of by the global marketplace. Fair-Trade guarantees these workers, who are usually struggling financially, can earn a reasonable living from their work. When you buy Fair- Trade products, you are purchasing products that pay a fair price to the growers and craftsmen.
You may sometimes find Fair-Trade products to be a little more expensive than their counterparts. This is where your conscience and your purchasing power come into play. The greatest power you have over corporate greed is the power of your wallet. By choosing in favor of the growers and producers, and paying a little more to do so, you send the message that the marketplace should be equitable.
Small farmers and inventive craftspeople are being pushed out of commerce by large business concerns all over the planet. This is particularly true in developing nations, where poverty weakens the bargaining power of producers and corporations have a tight hold on the marketplace. By purchasing Fair-Trade products, you help the small enterprises to stay in business in spite of the corporations and helpi to protect generations of traditional farming and crafts.
There are lots of sites on the internet where you can buy Fair-Trade products and details regarding shops and supermarkets retailing Fair-Trade goods.
Don’t undervalue the fact that by purchasing Fair-Trade products, you are playing a crucial role in improving others lives.
Jewellery that helps transform the scars of war into the beauty of peace.
Peace Dove necklaces, pendants and bracelets handmade from brass bombshell casings by Cambodian artisans.
This bomb shell jewellery turns the painful legacy of war into a beautiful item and offers a more positive future for the artisans, as well as the direct victims of landmines.
After two decades of war, one in every 250 Cambodians is disabled and the proportion of amputees - one in every 384 people - is the highest in the world.
The Cambodian landscape is littered with unexploded ordnances and bomb casings, many of which are still being uncovered. Today, artisans use bombshells to create fashion statements for peace. In a special necklace, the doves are hand cut from brass casings using a jeweller's saw and then stamped with the word peace, written in both Khmer and English.
This symbolic jewellery takes the scars of a country's horrific history and transforms them into something beautiful .
The jewellery shows a creative reaction to violent conflict, a way of reminding us of the impressive strength that lies within so many.
Fairtrade means that consumers in developed countries such as Australia can offer support to those in countries that are not as privileged by participating in a movement to buy goods from them and agreeing to pay a fair wage in return. Workers are ensured fair treatment, good working conditions and support. As a result, there are many men and women who are better able to support themselves their families and their communities financially .They take pride in their business and produce beautiful products to sell around the world During Christmas and all throughout the year, consider buying gifts that support Fair-Trade.
Do a search online for Fair Trade gifts. Look through a few of the search results and read about how each company is run to familiarize yourself with what their mission is. Look to see who they support and what types of products they offer. As you go, start to think about what your gift ideas are and who you could buy these fair trade products for. Even if you aren't in need of gifts, look for household products that you yourself might be interested in buying.
For a Christmas consider cards or Fairtrade Christmas decorations. There are also beautiful ornaments from all around the world, fair-trade stockings and nativity sets available to brighten up Xmas day
We all love to receive chocolates There are lots of companies that sell beautifully wrapped fair-trade chocolates that are delicious Some are individual bars of chocolate and some are boxed chocolates
Beautiful pottery from many countries can be found through fair trade companies. Consider giving a piece of art as a gift. You can also find baskets for storage and organizing your home. There are even lovely gift items that are made from recycled materials.
Tea and coffee and coffee are popular fair trade products and can be found at many different companies as well as local supermarkets
Finally when looking at each product read about each company and their practices so you are educated and feel good about your purchase. In many of the fair- trade gifts sites they list information about the artists that produce these fair trade goods.
It has a sad beginning but because of it the lives of others will be changed forever.
Martha Letsoalo started the heartfelt project with Julie Hadley after her son Emanuel died, at the age of 25, in prison wrongly accused and sadly abused . His files to this day have never been found. After stealing what little money Martha had and promising to get Emanuel out of prison, the corrupt lawyer left her broken hearted and disheartened by the legal system in the country. With no husband to depend on, no job opportunities and three grandchildren to feed - Martha did what came naturally to her – she found a way to survive.
The heartfelt project is her story. It’s about who she is. It’s about her children. It’s about the lives of the women and families in her community. It’s about the sadness that happens on a daily basis in Sth Africa and the big difference one small heart can make to the happiness of others. Together, Martha and Julie started creating and designing the heartfelt products using traditional handcraft skills, felt and beads. Today they are sold within South Africa and the UK. There are now ten women employed by the heartfelt project.
Each day they come to work full of pride and hope. Creating each heartfelt design out of love and strongly believing that they can make a difference - not only to their own lives but to the lives of the community in which they live. Each heart sold by the heartfelt project helps to feed and clothe the ladies and their families. Its aim is to heal the hearts of people who don't have the opportunities we have on a daily basis. And to fill not only the ladies hearts but many others with hope.
At Ethical Gifts we offer you something special. If you are looking for eco toys, eco gifts for children, green gift , recycled gifts, environmentally friendly gifts, eco bags,eco gifts for women, ethical gifts for Christmas, or just a unique gift idea you will find it at Ethical Gifts. Ethical Gifts only stocks gifts which have a positive impact on the people who make them and do no harm to the planet. We have a great range of fairtrade, handmade and eco-friendly gifts, jewellery,environmentally friendly bags, handmade toys, fairtrade cards, home-ware and more which you can buy safe in the knowledge that you are doing your bit for our world and for the people we share it with.