Do you ever wonder or even worry about the impact that the products you purchase have on the environment? Or do you think about the people behind the scenes producing those items and what their life or working conditions look like?
I think its so easy for us to just go to Walmart or Target or (enter store you shop at) and purchase products without ever considering how or where those products were made. For me, I’m a super frugal shopper. . . . which typically means I just don’t buy ‘extra’ things, but it also means that I don’t like to spend much money. But the more, I traveled internationally and lived/served among the extreme poor. And the longer I run International Blessings and partner with 3rd world artisans, the more I start to question how my buying habits effect the world. Does this mean I’m not frugal or that I stopped shopping at Walmart. Definitely not. BUT, I am much more intentional about supporting local, or fair trade type businesses, because I want the dollars I spend to make a positive impact. And I think the first step in preventing a negative impact is through education.
This of course is a big reason why I started International Blessings and specifically started Box of Blessings. There are stories that need to be shared. Products that have a much higher purpose than just filling a need or desire. And lives that can be impacted through a simple purchase.
June’s Box of Blessings focused on eco-friendly products. Now, almost all of the products we offer are eco-friendly, recycled types of items, but I wanted to spotlight a few of the creative ways artisans have found to create eco-friendly products.
The first item (and most creative, if I can be so bold!) is the Ellie Pooh Notebook handmade in Sri Lanka. About one tenth of the world’s 40,000 Asian elephants call this country home. However, these elephants are being killed, because they destroy farmland. It is estimated that 4,000 elephants have been lost since 1950. Although this conflict has no easy answers, one of the best ways to save these animals, is by increasing their worth to the native people.
And elephant dung just might be the solution needed! These notebooks are made up of 30% fiber from dung and 70% recycled paper. No trees or chemicals are used. Only natural vegetative binding agents and water-soluble salt dyes. The paper is acid free and as organic as it gets! If you are somewhat concerned (grossed out) about using paper made from elephant dung, don’t worry either. It has been thoroughly cleaned and processed! More information about the paper and artisans can be found at www.mrelliepooh.com.
The second item was Aboriginal Earrings handmade in Peru. These earrings have tribal looking designs painted on bamboo and are made by artisans working with Minga Imports. Minga was founded in 1997 to improve education in Ecuador, increase public knowledge of fair trade in the U.S., and support the concept of a sharing wage. They now partner with artisans in 4 countries and their products are very focused on eco-friendly resources and designs.
The third item is also created through Minga Imports by José Miguel Farinango and Anita Campo. The Acai & Coco Disc Bracelet is made with 3 strands of dyed acai seeds and a polished coconut disc on elastic string. I just think these are beautiful. Available in many different colors, these bracelets could be the star of any outfit!
José & Anita live in Ecuador and have been working with Minga since 2007. They design their own jewelry and use materials from the jungle such as tagua, acai, taguilla, pambil, and coconut. They have 3 children and this jewelry has been incredible helpful in allowing them to eat well, provide good health care & medicine for José’s mother, and to buy things for their home. This family’s ultimate goal is to provide the opportunity for education for their children.
The cause of the month receives $3 from every box to help fight poverty. For June, we supported Heifer International by donating to their ‘Where Most Needed’ fund. Heifer Intl. empowers families to break the cycle of poverty by providing the initial resources and education needed to succeed. These tools are so much more than a handout. It’s sustainability that gives families hope, dignity, and a way to give back. Through the Passing on the Gift model, each family passes on the first female of their livestock to another family.
Interested in learning more or purchasing your own Box of Blessings? Subscriptions are available month to month, 3 months prepaid, or 6 months prepaid. Your support makes a lasting difference in the fight against poverty, PLUS you will receive BEAUTIFUL, UNIQUE, handmade products that tell a story that you can cherish forever!