I’m no Oprah, but this girl can still make a list of favorites. I’ve struggled in recent years with the stark contrast between my excess and other’s lack. My plenty with another’s need. And though I know our consumerism is part of the problem, I’m encouraged to find organizations that are creating equalizing opportunities through the very products we buy. It’s a huge step in the right direction! You’ve probably heard of organizations like TOMS (the one-for-one charity) or World Vision’s Gift Catalog, but in recent years I’ve connected with some other amazing organizations with crazy heart and a beautiful mission.
With each of the five organizations I’m listing below, I’ve either made a personal connection with a team member, or I’ve personally bought their items. I can vouch for their work and mission and I’m excited to share them with you today:
This is a fantastic company I stumbled upon during my involvement with Love146 which seeks to end child trafficking and modern day slavery. Love146 realized that the t-shirts they sold to promote their organization might actually be perpetuating the very child labor they were seeking to end. As a result, they partnered up with “Imagine Goods” which provides former victims of trafficking with sustainable employment opportunities. When you buy through them, you know that the clothes you’re wearing didn’t come at the cost of unfair labor for someone else. Here are some of the things I’ve bought from them! (I hope you enjoy my cheesy selfie-modeling poses.)
(Top Picture: “the Kate dress“. Bottom Picture: (skirt no longer sold) Shirt: The Empowerment Women’s T-Shirt– SHIRT QUOTE: Empowerment is equipping an author with pen and ink to write their own story.)
AND Better yet, they’re running a sale through Sunday July 23rd! So now is a great time to try them out!
I ran into this Harrisonburg, VA based organization through ImagineGoods actually. While I haven’t ever been to this physical store (it’s on my to-do for one of our next trips south!), they have quite a unique story. They call this place their “porn shop takeover” where they bought up a building that once perpetuated the trafficking industry and turned that into a powerful weapon against the evil it once stood for. In their words, their mission is ” counteracting human trafficking through education, awareness, design, + the hope of Christ”.
And of course…I bought their “Justice and Coffee” shirt.
Next on my list to buy from them is one of their cool art prints or perhaps some survivor-made lip gloss that supports trafficked victims right out of Nashville, TN. 🙂 Win-win.
Trades of Hope is very similar to the other two organizations in the ways that it empowers women to support themselves through the production and sale of products. I love that Trades of Hope reaches out to a variety of women in multiple countries and addresses multiple reasons for poverty (disease, cultural discrimination, trafficking, etc). But what I additionally love about Trades of Hope is that their sales approach also provides employment opportunities for “Compassionate Entrepreneurs” who sell largely through host product parties. They sell jewelry, hand-bags, scarves, home-goods, and more- and for each item you can see a little bit of information about the artisans that created the product. It’s a great way to combat poverty and start some conversations through the items you wear and have in your home! I’m actually hosting my first Trades of Hope party this Thursday through my May Friend-Post Blogger, Sharon. So if you’re interested in more information, please check her out!
Also during my time with Love146, we had a man visit and share about his heart to change the trafficking climate by addressing the very men who perpetuated the demand for trafficking. Since then, he has shifted ministry roles, but he now finds himself working with a mission out of Bangkok Thailand which created “Nightlight Design” . This organization mirrors the others in the way it empowers the trafficking survivors right out of Thailand. My understanding is that you can “host” a party with friends, church, etc, where Nightlight will send you a box of items to sell, and you return any unsold items and the profits from sales back to their team. You can also purchase online!
5: AMANI YA JUU (Amani Africa)
Call me crazy, but one morning I woke up with the word “Amani” in my head. Having no idea what it meant, I looked it up and discovered it means “peace” in Swahili. So months later when I talked to a friend who worked with an organization called “Amani Ya Juu” I was understandably intrigued.
Amani also allows artisans to create sustainable income through the creation of products. But Amani has such a unique focus on the communities established through each of their centers (Liberia, Kenya, Uganda, and Chattanooga, TN). Each of these community centers uniquely reflects the women involved, and provides far more than just training or employment. Especially in light of the refugee crisis of late, the stories you’ll read about the women who launched Amanai and the centers will truly inspire you. They are bringing so much life where once was grief and pain.
AND I had the pleasure of visiting their Chattanooga storefront last November-
and was in love with their unique toy items, clothes, greeting cards, and more. Here’s some pictures to give you an idea:
(This skirt has POCKETS!!! Yes, please!)
Such a great shop, and you can find many of these items and more online as well!
Thanks for hanging around to see a few of my favorite shops for freedom. This is part of my promise to post about some cool ways you can be part of changing the world with your own “less to be more”. I’m looking forward to sharing more hands-on opportunities with you soon! What organizations have you worked with that are empowering people and changing the world? I’d love to hear about them!