by Mina Olivera
Mom to Mom; Mother’s Day gifts that give back!
Flowers, cards, breakfast in bed. While each of these is nice – and very appreciated – on Mother’s Day, I especially love gifts that give back. Gifts that give hope and inspiration to more than just me. After all, isn’t selflessness what being a mother is all about?
15 years ago, I co-founded NOVICA (a fair-trade, online marketplace, part owned by National Geographic) with the dream of helping hardworking women (and men) around the world. We wanted to showcase artisan talent in developing countries and make their beautiful products accessible to consumers here in the US. Today, we proudly feature thousands of items like jewelry, clothes and wood carvings that are made by artisans in places like Bali, Brazil, Guatemala and India. These women set their own prices and run their own small businesses, often employing others in their community to help out.
I’ve had the honor of meeting many of these women over the years, and some of their stories are just incredible. Maybe this Mother’s Day, you can drop a hint and get a beautiful necklace or scarf that simultaneously helps another mom out?
Here are a few of my Mother’s Day picks:
Sandra and Lily
Mother/Daughter team Sandra and Lily use their combined love of gemstones to create unique pieces of jewelry. They previously traveled long distances to buy quality stones, but just recently discovered beautiful gemstones in their own country of Peru. As a result, their jewelry is often exhibited in local art fairs and shows. They say this family business has brought them closer together and provided a greater sense of peace.
Artisan group “Maya Traditions” was started in 1988 by a social worker and expert weaver. Currently, over 100 women of Mayan descent benefit from the organization. On average, each woman has five children. Most of the families live in a rural communities and speak different Mayan dialects from their neighbors just a few miles away. The sales of these beautiful scarves and other woven items directly support the families’ health, education and social opportunities.
Rachel first realized her passion for beads during her years as a seamstress. She loved making her clothes sparkle with the perfect accessory piece. After saving up, Rachel was eventually able to start a small jewelry business. She is a single mother to two young girls and now supports her family in this way. Rachel is active in her West African community, where she teaches sewing and beading skills to underprivileged youth.
Meena’s love for traditional Indian art was strongly influenced by her mother. Growing up, she watched her mom creating wall hangings by sewing together pieces of her family’s old clothes. Each artwork told a piece of their story. Meena now replicates her mom’s art, by buying fabrics and used clothes from her neighbors. Of her art, Meena says “The coming together of colorful patches into one single panel is like putting together dreams of many women who once attired the piece. This shows that tradition never dies.”
Check out ALL of Novica’s gifts at novica.com