You can gift any designer candle, but how much better if the one you choose provides solar light to under-serviced areas? You can buy the latest doll, but a handmade one that helps children around the world grow up strong is even better. You see the point: Your purchasing can power great causes. Here are seventeen unique gifts that give back.
The Gift: A contemporary kantha cotton quilt hand-stitched by artisans escaping the sex trade in India.
The Impact: A portion of proceeds support workers’ health care benefits, design training, and education.
Available at anchalproject.org, $372
The Gift: Ethiopian leather wallet with pockets for passport, cash, cards, smartphones, and ID.
The Impact: Sponsoring rehab, counseling, and skills training for women in Ethiopia’s sex trade through Women at Risk.
Available at parkerclay.com, from $48
The Gift: A small, stylish, zebra-wood bluetooth speaker with nice sound and long battery life.
The Impact: Providing hearing aids to those in need worldwide through Starkey Hearing Foundation.
Available at amazon.com, $100
The Gift: A beautiful, glass-bead warrior bracelet crafted by marginalized Maasai women in Tanzania.
The Impact: Makers receive twice the average national pay, retirement funds, paid maternity leave and vacation, health insurance, subsidized lunches, and access to legal, hygiene, literacy, and economics courses.
Available at sidaidesigns.com, $54
The Gift: Handsome, unisex frames to keep you from squinting in the field.
The Impact: Your favorite optical company makes monthly donations to VisionSpring, a non-profit that trains low-income men and women to sell ultra affordable (and stylish) glasses in underserved communities worldwide.
Available at warbyparker.com, $95
The Gift: A modern Guatemalan throw handwoven by artisans from a small village on Lake Atitlán.
The Impact: Each purchase gives a weaver and her family one month of electricity.
Available at shopspring.com, $128
The Gift: A quarterly subscription box for women filled with seasonal lifestyle products that give back.
The Impact: Backing socially conscious companies that provide jobs, meals, education, and clean water globally.
Available at causebox.com, $50
The Gift: Twenty pyramids of Ayurvedic green tea sourced from small-scale growers in Assam, India.
The Impact: Empowering farmers, investing in infrastructure, and granting scholarships to rural youth in developing countries.
Available at thelittlemarket.com, $12
The Gift: Adorable, hypoallergenic, hand-knit dolls that help children around the world grow up strong.
The Impact: Every doll sold provides 10 meals to kids through Children’s Hunger Fund and WFP School Meals Program.
Available at cuddleandkind.com, from $45
The Gift: A hand-loomed patterned pillow from the weaving collective of Waraniéné in Côte d’Ivoire.
The Impact: A percentage of purchases supports the village’s schools and maternity clinics.
Available at fiveandsixtextiles.com, $95
The Gift: A silk-blend scarf to keep the spirits afloat, printed from a NASA satellite image of the outer Aleutian Islands.
The Impact: With every purchase, $10 is donated to ANERA to improve the lives of refugees in the Middle East.
Available at slowfactory.com, $100
The Gift: Makeup-removing, blackhead-battling, activated charcoal bars made from the unused ends of soap logs.
The Impact: Twenty percent of profits go towards sanitation efforts in Kaberamaido, Uganda, and the slums of Mumbai.
Available at bare-soaps.com, $6.50
The Gift: A cotton bracelet made by underprivileged Cambodian artisans, mostly mothers, with a brass compass to guide you on your way.
The Impact: Ten percent of profits are donated to Free to Shine to fight human trafficking in Cambodia.
Available at thebravecollection.com, $95
The Gift: Ten-ounce soy wax candles inspired by aromatic exports from Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Malawi.
The Impact: With each order, a solar light is delivered to a person living without electricity in Africa through SolarAid.
Available at onegridcandle.com, $28
The Gift: Protection from the elements in the form of a tan fedora made from salvaged wool.
The Impact: The Christian-affiliated non-profit syphons all proceeds to the cause of your choice: providing uniforms to school kids in Kenya and Haiti, or supplying work clothes to new graduates of the Atlanta-based job training program they fund.
Available at cyny.org, $70
The Gift: Your next day bag has enough storage — for keys, snacks, cords, laptop, and iPad — to keep you organized.
The Impact: With each purchase, State delivers one of their bags packed with supplies to an American child in need.
Available at shopspring.com, $95
The Gift: A lightly padded case for Macbook Pro and Air made with local textiles in Hohoe, Ghana.
The Impact: Workers receive fair pay, literacy classes, and money management training.