The hashtag #GiftsThatGiveBack is all over social media this time of year, urging everyone to give gifts that help lift others—especially in developing countries—out of poverty.
In the spirit of giving, here are some of Global Envision's favorite social enterprises—companies that wear their hearts on their sleeves...and on their shoes, bracelets, hats and Punjammies.
Krochet Kids intl. was started by three high school friends in Seattle, Wash., who were known for their hat-crocheting skills. During summer college breaks the friends traveled to developing countries, where they confronted poverty and unemployment; they grew determined to make a difference. These new perspectives sparked something. “The desire was planted within us to help,” says one of KKi co-founders, “To reach out in love. To make a difference.”
Today, Krocket Kids teaches and employs people in Uganda and Peru, mentoring them towards a brighter future. The non-profit has grown far past just crochet hats—it now offers a wide variety of apparel and accessories. Every piece is hand-signed by the person who made it.
Sudara Goods is best known for Punjammies: Super comfy loungewear in colors and patterns inspired by Indian culture. The Indian women who make the Punjammies are former victims of the sex trade.
In 2005, Shannon Keith traveled to India. In a red light district, she witnessed the modern slavery of sex workers. She listened as women described how their families had sold them into the sex trade or of being kidnapped by pimps. Even if they escaped sex work, the women faced dismal futures.
Keith returned home and knew she needed to do something about it: Sudara Punjammies was born. Not only does Sudara provide training and jobs, but it also provides housing and education for the women and their children. These women gain confidence in their new skills and in themselves, as well as newfound hope and freedom for their futures.
Sseko Designs is a fashion company designed to give young women an opportunity—to go to college, to work, to succeed and earn and save. Liz Bohannon was a recent college graduate when she travelled to Uganda and learned that few women could afford to go to college; that’s when she founded Sseko Designs.
Sseko employs young, high-potential, Ugandan women in dignified jobs so that they can earn money that will go directly toward their college educations, Bohannon says. The signature Sseko product is leather sandals with interchangeable fabric straps that can be styled many different ways, but the company now also has many different styles of footwear as well as accessories.
Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Here are some more companies that offer ethical goods that truly give back and make a positive, long-term difference.
Shop With Meaning
Raven & Lily
The Shine Project
You can also shop Mercy Corps Gifts for more gifts that change lives.