Purchase With A Purpose
By : Wickham Boyle
Even in a recession we all still want to give a trinket or something snuggly to those we love. How much better if these tokens of esteem and adoration also come with a helping hand to those less fortunate, but oh so talented.

Sometimes it is difficult to know if artisans and artists have been treated fairly, paid a good wage and work in safe conditions. But many producers have donned the mantle of doing well and doing good simultaneously and they are offering an array of wonderful gifts which can be purchased on the internet for the holidays. Or be smart and keep this handy guide for birthdays, weddings, Valentines Day or Mom's and Dad's Day.


Full disclosure here, I am one of the founders of this amazing company. I say that with pride as these high-end skin creams are made from the finest safely harvested, fair-trade shea butter. The women in Northern Ghana are the only ones who gather shea nuts, as shea is a self-sustaining crop harvested from the ground and hence the men consider it trash, and thus women's work. The women use the money they garner from gathering shea to pay school fees for their children, often their daughters who are less often allowed to go to school than their brothers.

The women literally risk their lives gathering the shea nuts as black mombas and vipers abound and they have no protective gear. JUST SHEA was founded to provide women with hats, boots and gloves to protect against snakebites. JUST SHEA pays for this gear by selling high-end creams created to protect Western women's face, hands and feet. It is a simple elegant solution for one set of women to help another.

All the products are available individually at www.justshea.com Each $55
And sets are available at the wonderful site AHA Life, which also offers other products that give back. Set of three $148

12 Small Things

The folks who began 12 Small Things also produce the beautiful HAND/EYE magazine and website. 12 Small Things, no surprise, offers a dozen quality, handmade, artisan goods from around the globe. The current collection features work form India, Peru, Ghana, Haiti, Africa and Guatemala. The collections support craftspeople working to improve the lives of their families and communities in some of the most challenging situations on the planet. Their stories are those of strength, hope, and beauty, and each product reflects these qualities in the design and craftsmanship. 12 Small Things strives to assist these communities and artisans through commerce.

One of our favorites for holiday giving are the magical EBONY VESSELS (photo 2) crafted from sustainably sourced mpingo wood by artisans living in Mozambique's vast woodlands, these sophisticated storage jars are both useful and beautiful. The unique lids of these stylish lathe-turned jars are a chance for the carvers to show off their skills. Mpingo is the Kiswahili word for the dark hardwood also known as African blackwood or Mozambican ebony and grows prolifically in Mozambique's forests. Differences in tone and slight imperfections confirm the authenticity of materials and craftsmanship of every vessel.

Select from 3 different styles; Small (7 x 4"), Medium (8 x 4") or Large (10 x 4). If out of stock, vessels can be special ordered at info@12smallthings.com. Availability: In stock - $65.00

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