Photo by permission of A Greater Gift of a Sunshine Shawl
Are you stumped what to give your Aunt or boss for the Holidays? Can’t figure out what to get your best friend for his or her birthday? You have run out of the usual ideas of note cards, candles, and plastic gift cards. Wishing to be kinder to the Earth this season with your holiday joy?
Even with the purchase of green gifts, which are better for the Planet, here is a thought about giving a gift of self-sufficiency for artisans and farmers around the world who are struggling to live a life without poverty and helplessness through A Greater Gift, a program by SERRV International.
What exactly is A Greater Gift? It is the marketing arm of SERRV International, a fifty-six year old company dedicated to helping those less fortunate. “Our mission is to promote the social and economic progress of people in developing regions of the world by marketing their products in a just and direct manner.” All products that the organization carries are fairly traded, which means that SERRV participates in a system where numerous artisans and farmers all over the world, including the United States, are paid fair wages for their products based upon a set of internationally accepted fair trade principals designed to improve the livelihood of low income people.
A Greater Gift’s wares include beautifully handcrafted products, jewelry, household items, chocolate, teas, and holiday gifts just to name a few. They are competitively priced as well.
Some ideas for the holidays:
Children of the World featured in Hand painted Ornaments at a cost of $6.00. Purchasing this gift made by artisans in India via the Asha Handicraft Association. Asha, which means hope in Sanskrit, was started in 1975 and represents 1500 artisans regardless of creed.
“As a sign of its commitment to the artisans, Asha welfare workers work closely with the families of the artisans, extending medical care and educational assistance by providing yearly scholarships to children attending primary school, supplying them with school fees, uniforms, and books. Other benefits include interest-free loans, face masks for artisans working with dust or powders, advances to purchase raw materials, and pure drinking water.”
Photo by permission of A Greater Gift
How about an Eyeglass Chain for those like myself who always lose their glasses, made by the artisans of the Tara Projects?
“Tara Projects started as an outgrowth of a study group of intellectuals and social workers at Jamia Millia University in Delhi who wanted to make an impact on the lives of the “untouchables” they had met who lived nearby. To that end, Tara has become a leading voice in the movement opposing the use of child labor in India and also works to improve the status of women.”
Photo by permission of A Greater Gift
Embroidered Lace Bookmark makes a beautiful gift for our booklover friends. This bookmark is made by the Godavari Delta Women Lace Artisans Cooperative in Eastern India.
“The 300 women who are members of the cooperative are very poor, most are illiterate, and they struggle to survive in a male-dominated culture which encourages arranged marriages, dowry abuse, and discourages women from getting an education. Sales of lace items offer hope and a new sense of empowerment for these women.”
Soap from Enterprising Kitchen, photo by permission of A Greater Gift
A Greater Gift also partners with organizations right here in the United States, such as the Women Bean Project based in Denver, Colorado. This organization was created to provide a source of income and to provide skills for homeless women to overcome poverty by supporting local farmers. Other projects include The Enterprising Kitchen based in Chicago, Illinois, where women make soap, and Just Coffee, helping struggling coffee growers from all over the world to sell coffee in the United States. Far up in northern Minnesota, A Greater Gifts partners with the White Earth Oiibwe (Chippewa) reservation under the project named Native Harvest, which sells traditional Oiibwe foods. The sales fund the White Earth Land Recovery Plan for the buyback of original tribal lands and build a sustainable economy for the reservation.
To find the organization’s products at local gifts stores, click here and locate your state. If you wish to order online, deliveries can only be made to the United States, US territories, and Canada.
In addition to buying one of the beautiful products from A Greater Gift, there are other ways that you or your organization can help by either hosting a sale of Greater Gift products, or selling products through your Retail Stores. Additional you can donate to this worthy cause to help further training of artisans around the world. Also, you can invest in the SERRV International Loan Fund, and receive interest on your investment. This Loan Fund helps provide loans and partial pre-payments to their partners.
Many of us are so fortunate in this world and to read the stories of those struggling to survive tugs at your heart. Buying gifts from A Greater Gift has a double gift of giving: you give a gift to your recipient as well as a gift of hope for the artisan or farmer. This makes gift giving so much richer.