Are you looking to purchase ethical (and super beautiful) Christmas presents for your friends and loved ones? Of course, I would definitely recommend purchasing presents through Oxfam’s Unwrapped campaign, but that’s another blog post.
So another wonderful option is 10 000 Villages. I love this organization – I have bought so many items at their various store locations throughout my lifetime, including picture frames, scarves, kitchen utensils, and jewelry, to name only a few examples.
10 000 Villages recently traveled to Queen’s to do a 3-day sale in the Queen’s Center at the end of November. As I shopped, I was reminded again of the wonderful effect that this organization has on the lives of thousands of artisans all over the world. We are so grateful that the Queen’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders took the initiative to bring 10 000 Villages to Queen’s, and I know lots of people, including myself, who took advantage of the sale to purchase some holiday presents!
This is 10 000 Villages’ website, which has lots of information about the organization, and even allows you to shop online! You can also find locations of the many 10 000 Villages stores all over Canada, including many in Ontario.
So what exactly is 10 000 Villages? The website has detailed information about the organization, so I will just give you a super brief description of why I think that it is so wonderful. All the following information is taken directly from 10 000 Villages’ website.
10 000 Villages is a FAIR TRADE non-profit organization, meaning that their primary goal is to help the artisans from whom they buy products earn a fair wage, not to maximize profits for the company. They have approximately 30 permanent stores in Canada, and they also travel all over the country for temporary sales, like when they came to Queen’s. The stores sell a huge variety of handicrafts produced by artisans all over the world.
But wait, how is a “fair wage” actually determined? 10 000 Villages works with the artisans themselves and other residents in the community to determine how much the artisans deserve to be paid. This is a direct quote from the company’s website: “10 000 Villages buyers talk directly with artisan groups. They also talk with other organizations working in the country to learn how much other people in the community earn – farm workers, construction workers, teachers, etc. It is 10 000 Villages’ goal to ensure that an artisan’s basic needs for food, clothing, housing, medical care and children’s education are met.”
One final quick fact: 10 000 Villages purchases products from 29 developing countries around the world. Also, the organization employs over 60 000 people that would otherwise likely be unemployed or underemployed!
What a wonderful organization to support as you’re doing your holiday shopping!