24 November 2014

multiply your spending power

In my National Adoption Month post, I promised to make a list of places you can shop + see your purchase multiplied as it benefits children in crisis.  Christmas feels like a great time to spread some of that purchase power around.  I know its not always practical to purchase items like this for people on your list, so don't really consider this as a gift-buying guide, although it would be nice if it works out that way for you!

I feel like I might first need to let you know something important.  There are a lot of children in orphanages with living parents. They are called 'poverty orphans' by some.  The children are placed in an orphanage because the birth mother/family feel like they cannot provide for their basic needs.  The parent(s) believe the child has a better chance to survive in an orphanage rather than in their arms. This is unimaginable for a North American birth mother, I know, but before you throw your rocks - open up your heart. These parents make an excruciatingly difficult decision because they feel like there is no other option. By spending your money differently, you can help provide some options.

I am passionate about this and over the course of a few years we have slowly been making changes in our purchase patterns.  We are still slowly making changes, even if you just choose to buy one thing from an alternate source this year, it matters.   Most of the time, these items cost a bit more than if you just picked something up at Wal-mart -- which is why it has been a long, slow process for us to make changes.  However, an added benefit of shopping with intention is that you whittle away some of that constant feeling of not having enough.  When you carefully shop and select products that benefit someone's entire family, it reminds you of how much you truly have. Honestly, even those of us on tight budgets have fairly fat closets compared to most of the world.

For us, it started with coffee.  I have written about it here before, so I won't go in to too much detail.  We drink coffee every single day, so we felt it was important to know that the people that grow our coffee are given a fair wage. When farmers receive a fair wage, they are able to provide for their families safely and with dignity.  This is a small change that makes a big difference. {and I am certain the coffee is better!}  Currently, we buy our coffee from Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Co which provides life-changing work for communities in Rwanda.  That is a pretty big benefit just from switching coffees!

Land of a Thousand Hills slogan sticker
From there, it moved to accessories.  There are so many options for purchasing accessories.  I have a few scarves from fashionABLE and I love them.  Of course, they cost more than a scarf you'll find at Wal-Mart or Target, but they come with a handwritten note from the woman that made them.  I am OK with having fewer scarf options, knowing that the scarves I wear have made a big difference in the life of someone else.  It is the same with jewelry and handbags. I have a bag from Freeset and a bag from JOYN, they are well-made and I get compliments on them.  They aren't cheap, but the money I spent on them helps a mother provide for her family or helps a victim regain dignity through work.  That matters.  I have jewelry from 147Million Orphans, Bead For Life, and the ApParent Project.  All of it has been worn for years and I always get compliments on it. Always. It is unique and often one-of-a-kind.  It reminds me every time I wear it that my small choice can make a big difference. 
cuff bracelet from 147 million orphans
One of my favorite make-a-difference-purchases has been my Sseko sandals.  I really adore this company and their passion for empowering women in Uganda.  Every graduate from their classes has gone on to university.  That is huge in their country.  Once when I posted a link for Sseko Tie Sandals on FB someone commented that they were "pricey."  And I get it, I do.  They are the most expensive sandals I have ever bought myself - {a clue to our budget}.  They are so worth it, though.  I have had them for two years and they show no signs of falling apart.  Plus I can purchase new ribbons and accessories quite inexpensively.  They are the absolute best shoe to pack on trips {in the summer!}  They are comfortable enough to wear all day and can be styled to wear to a wedding or a day at the park.

ssekos in the family pic!
Recently, I signed up for a monthly box from Fair Trade Friday - a perk of ditching my iPhone and its expensive contract!  You can also purchase one-time boxes which I think would make awesome gifts!  100% of the proceeds from each box goes to the empowerment of impoverished women as an avenue to introduce them to the Gospel. Pretty great return on investment there!  Everything in the boxes comes with a tag stating where it was made, and often has the artisan's name on it.  Also the items are packaged in such a way that they could easily be re-gifted.  Win, win!

see all the awesome in one box??
Unfortunately, I am not super smart with tech stuff, so I only know how to add links through words.  Someday I might learn how to embed them right into the post, but for now, I thought a link to my pinterest board with all of the above websites (as well as a few others) would be the easiest way to allow you to browse around.  You can click on it, and it will take you right to it.   If you ever have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to ask!     Follow Amanda's board shop with a purpose on Pinterest.

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