When you get your December issue, turn to p. 15, and you'll find my "Handy-Dandy Guide" to gift-giving for a good cause. It's a roundup of non-profit, fair trade, and charitable organizations that sell beads and jewelry to benefit people who could use a little hope this holiday season. I tried to keep my scope as wide-ranging as possible -- featuring groups that benefit kids in the U.S., women in Africa, and youth in Cambodia -- but the list is far from exhaustive. Here are links to the groups covered in the magazine. If you know of other groups that sell beads and jewelry for a good cause, please leave a comment below telling me about them. Include websites if you can!
Rolled paper beads from Uganda: Paper beads (like the ones above) will satisfy your soul, and also any New Years resolutions about reducing your carbon footprint. Impoverished women in Africa roll the beads from recycled paper and use their resulting income to become independent. You can buy finished jewelry or loose beads from the following sources:
Beads of Courage: Lampworkers of the ISGB donate beads to this program, which distributes them to children who are undergoing treatment for cancer and other chronic illnesses. Each bead marks a significant procedure or milestone in their treatment.You can buy replicas of the beads to support the program.
Krobo beads from Ghana: Traditional recycled-glass beads (right) from the Krobo region of Ghana are colorful and philanthropic! The groups below sell finished jewelry and loose Krobo beads to benefit the youth in Ghana, where other employment is scarce.
Senhoa: This organization benefits Cambodian women and children who at risk for (or who have already been victimized by) human trafficking. Senhoa's high-end Swaovski-studded jewelry (like the earrings at left) will rock your world, and theirs!
Trollbeads: If you have a Pandora-style bracelet for big-hole beads, here's something for your holiday wish list. Trollbeads Universal Uniques beads (right) are handmade by artisans in Malawi, Africa, who are rising above the hardships of unemployment and AIDs to participate in this self-sustainable operation.
Umoja Beaded Jewelry: Umoja Uaso is an all-women's village that supports women fleeing domestic violence in Kenya. Sale of their tribal-inspired jewelry helps them support themselves, their families, and their mission to promote women's rights in that country.
Charitable catch-alls: Some over-achieving vendors sell beads and jewelry that benefit a wide variety of causes. Kazuri Beads, like the ones shown below, are one of the many popular products they offer. Browse the following online shops to see just how much goodwill there is to go around!