Some gifts are as helpful to the maker as they are to the recipient. Here are a few:
IWasASari from India
In Dharavi, Mumbai India’s biggest slum, some women collect used saris and repurpose their cloth into scarves, stoles, and bags. You can buy these here in the US from the website Etsy.
Sherpa hat and mittens from Nepal
The Sherpa people traditionally live in the mountain regions of Nepal and, today, many Sherpas make a living guiding travelers through mountain paths or hosting them in teahouses. These beautiful mittens feature a tribal pattern of knitted wool, and an adaptable flap to protect fingertips, while still keeping them easily accessible for moments that require dexterity. You can order them here
Share Cookbook from war-torn countries
All of the publisher’s profits from Share — a cookbook produced by Women for Women International — help women in war-torn countries rebuild their lives. With more than 100 recipes — including Congolese sticky doughnuts, sweet potato-topped salmon, and Thai fish curry — Share features recipes from women living in the countries experiencing conflict where Women for Women International operates as well as world-renowned chefs from across the globe. Buy it here.
The Giving Keys to help Homeless People
Saying that an old key can share similarities with a person — they both can be “unique, flawed, scarred and at risk of being discarded” — actress and singer Caitlin Crosby founded The Giving Keys to change lives. With the help of multiple nonprofits, the company finds and employs homeless people to create necklaces from keys that have outlived their use. Buy one here.
Pottery from Mexico
There’s no sign to find the small family-owned ceramic workshop, known as Encantada Pottery, in the state of Guanajuato. Behind the large wooden gate, women artisans are hand painting unfired ceramics while men work the kilns, as they have since the late 70’s. Each piece has personality from the dots and swirls to the handpainted logo on the bottom. And each is lead free, microwave and dishwasher safe.
And a bonus… Soccer program from Africa
Jessica Hilltout, back in 2010, toured Africa’s poorer countries, photographing futbol players and the balls they played with – oftentimes no more than a duct-taped sphere. Along the way, she distributed fresh uniforms, cleats, and balls… all procured through sales of her photography.
Today, only her book remains and though the proceeds no longer go directly to the African community, it’s still a feel-good purchase. Check it out here.
I hope that one or more of these gift ideas finds its way into your shopping basket.
If you have more ideas for Upcycle products, I’d love to hear. Email me here.
Happy Holidays from Melanie & Rare Finds Travel.