TO THE MARKET Celebrates World Refugee Day with the Launch of New Products

A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Jane Mosbacher Morris, Founder and CEO of TO THE MARKET | Survivor-made Goods. TO THE MARKET is an amazing, creative social enterprise that showcases handmade goods made exclusively by proud and passionate artisans who have overcome the perils of abuse, conflict, and disease. By assisting local partners around the world in bringing these goods “to the market,” the organization takes an active role in equipping the survivor’s they employ with economic independence, while raising awareness of the challenges that they face.

I have featured TO THE MARKET’s products on my “Gifts that Give Back” page on my blog and have stayed in touch with Jane over the years to see what new initiatives they are working on. In honor of World Refugee Day (June 20th) and World Refugee Awareness Month (all of June), TO THE MARKET has launched a small collection of products in partnership with Art of Hope, a non-profit providing services to Syrian refugees in the Middle East.  I asked Jane to tell me a little bit more about the new product line and how we can use our purchasing power to make a difference. Here is what she has to say.

This was taken in the slums of Dehra Dun, India and shows Jane Mosbacher Morris (Founder of TO THE MARKET) talking with a mother of a polio survivor. Her son, the polio survivor, is able to work, allowing the family (including the mother pictured) to be supported. Photo credit: Neil Ruskin

Today is World Refugee Day, a day serving to bring to light the hardships faced by millions of displaced persons and acknowledge their perseverance. Our world faces an unprecedented number of displaced persons, 65.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to natural and manmade disasters (1). Of this population, a significant number of refugees come from Syria (1). Over 1 million registered Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring Lebanon, with over half below the age of 17 (2). Displaced persons often experience greater threat of physical violence, psychological traumas, disability and death.

The stark realities endured by the majority of displaced Syrians, and countless others across the globe, can often leave those of us reading this post thousands of miles away feeling helpless as to whether or not we can make a meaningful difference. But with today’s interconnected society we can, within even a matter of minutes, through support a new collection launched by TO THE MARKET and Art of Hope at the beginning of June.

In an effort to alleviate some of the trauma and psychological wounds forced upon Syrian refugees, Art of Hope provides Syrian refugee children based in Lebanon with therapy, counseling, and trauma-relief through various art therapy workshops as well as teaching them English through the arts. The organization also provides women and teens sewing classes, arts/crafts, and psychodrama workshops, as well as English courses while helping them cope with emotional challenges. In the absence of any educational, vocational, and psychological support for the refugees, Art of Hope’s help is sometimes the only support they will receive and it makes a tremendous difference.

Art of Hope released its first capsule collection using the drawing and hand-written letters of their Syrian refugee beneficiaries from Lebanon. Printed on 100% organic cotton, each bag is handmade by female human trafficking survivors in TO THE MARKET’s artisan network and then handprinted by a Syrian refugee child. 100% of the sales of the Art of Hope and TO THE MARKET collection will directly benefit Art of Hope’s programming on the ground in Lebanon.

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Here are some photos from the new collection. To see more details or to place an order, click here.

To The Market Art of Hope

Rula’s Drawing Tote Bag: This 100% organic cotton sheeting tote includes a screen print of a beautiful drawing originally done by Rula, an 11 year old Syrian refugee from Daraa, Syria who now lives in one of the most impoverished slums of Beirut, Lebanon. Rula suffers from anxiety and PTSD after fleeing her war-torn city in Syria.

To the Market Art of Hope

Rula’s Letter Toiletry Bag

To the Market Art of Hope

Aya’s Letter Tote Bag: This 100% organic cotton canvas tote in black includes a screen print of a letter originally written in English by Aya, a 16 year old Syrian refugee from Homs, Syria who currently lives in Lebanon. 1

Want to learn more? Please visit TO THE MARKET  (www.tothemarket.com) and Art of Hope (www.artofhopeglobal.org).

References

  1. Figures At A Glance [Internet].  Available from: http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html. UNHCR.
  2. Syrian Regional Refugee Response Inter-agency Information Sharing Portal [Internet]. Available from: http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/country.php?id=122.

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Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD

Moeloco “Dream Crazy”: Buy One, Give One and Change a Life.

“When you truly are on purpose, the people, the opportunities and the resources you need will naturally gravitate toward you”.   -Jack Canfield

Have you ever had a dream that seemed impossible and almost crazy?  Kathy Wong, an entrepreneur from Australia did. After a career in business, Kathy came out of retirement to start a social enterprise named Moeloco which is a combination of two words, “Moe” derived from the Hawaiian word Moehani, meaning “dream” and “loco” is latin for “crazy”.

“Moeloco is my dream crazy. This dream began when I realized how disconnected humanity had become” says Kathy Wong, founder of Moeloco, a social enterprise dedicated to changing the lives of children living in extreme poverty. When Kathy learned that over 300 million children lack shoes, her entrepreneurial spirit and loving heart sprung to action and she founded Moeloco. Kathy chose flip-flops as her vehicle to fuel her social enterprise. In Australia and other parts of the world, flip-flops are a fun reminder of freedom and inspiration. Kathy jumped on that theme and designed each colorful flop-flop to leave a positive message in the sand such as “Be Happy” or “Love”.

Kathy’s mission is to build a heart-centered community who realize that their consumer dollar has enormous potential and power for positive social impact. Each purchase creates a ripple effect starting with the consumer and positively impacting the lives of underprivileged children and their community.

For each pair of flop-flops, Moeloco will donate one pair of covered canvas shoes to a child living in poverty through their collaboration with the Hope Foundation, an Ireland-based non-profit working to help the street and slum children living primarily in Kolkata, India. Each pair of donated shoes protects a chid’s feet, and also helps change their future by ensuring they can attend school.





Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD

“The Story of US”: How Humanity Unified is Supporting Women Farmers in Rwanda

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”. – Desmond Tutu

Do you ever feel like the connections we make in life sometimes seems like fate? The more I work in this tiny niche of social good travel bloggers, the more amazed I am by the incredible friendships and network I’ve made online. I’ve met countless inspiring bloggers and humanitarians online through blogging and social media. One such person is Maria Russo, founder of the award-wining online media platform for travel and social good, The Culture-ist and the non-profit Humanity UnifiedIt all happened because I follow her on Instagram where I noticed the amazing photographs her organization was posting on women and girls during a trip to Rwanda.

I commented on the photos and began a relationship online that resulted in an interview  and a post on her and her husband Anthony’s work as the founders of Humanity Unified. I was instantly drawn to Maria and Anthony’s passion for making the world a better place by starting at the grassroots level by improving the lives of women and girls in Rwanda. I have been working with Maria ever since.

This past International Women’s Day (on March 8th), I held a fundraising dinner to support Humanity Unified and I was elated by the results. In one night, we raised over $400! Although that may seem like a small amount to you and me, in Rwanda that money goes a long way. Roughly 70 % of Rwandans are substance farmers who rely on their harvests for income and with unpredictable weather, environmental disasters and climate change, a good or bad harvest can make a tremendous difference. Humanity Unified is trying to change this reality by empowering rural communities to rise out of poverty through education, food security projects and economic opportunities. They start by investing in women.

Humanity Unifed

Photo credit: Anthony Russo

Since 2015, Humanity Unified has been working in Rwanda with their partner Aspire Rwanda, a local NGO that empowers poor women to rise above poverty. The two organizations share similar missions dedicated to poverty alleviation through education, food security projects and economic opportunities.

Humanity Unifed

Photo credit: Anthony Russo

Humanity Unifed

Photo credit: Anthony Russo

Currently, the organization is empowering 110 women through a farming cooperative project that will ensure each woman earns a self-sustaining, livable income after completing a one-year intensive educational program.

The program provides the women with the skills and knowledge necessary to triple the cooperative’s yields over the course of one year. The 100 women enrolled in the cooperative, most of whom earn less than a dollar per day, are also attending workshops on gender-based violence, women and children’s rights, nutrition, positive masculinity (which includes male partners) and workshops designed specifically for single and widowed women. The program also provides training in cooperative management, financial planning and effective agriculture methods.

Food Security Gifts that Give Back Global Issues SOCIAL GOOD Women and Girls

10 Amazing Wines that Give Back

“For it is in giving that we receive”. – Francis of Assisi

If you have followed my blog for awhile, then you know how much I love curating my ever growing list of Gifts that Give Back on my blog. It has become my most popular page and is the most widely searched of all my content. When I saw a post on my friend’s blog Epicure & Culture on wines that give back I was elated. I love wine and I had no idea that there are wines that taste delicious and also give back to a cause to make a difference. She agreed to let me share the post here. I look forward to ordering some of these wines and knowing that I am also doing good while enjoying a delightful glass of vino!

Sip These Ten Wonderful Wines to Help Change the World 

This is an original post that first appeared here on Epicure & Culture and was written by Katie Foote, Epicure & Culture Contributor

wines that give back
There’s nothing like a glass of wine to help you relax after a stressful day at work or to complement a meal. While the alcohol in wine helps make you feel good, you can enhance that warm fuzzy feeling by purchasing the following bottles. With these you won’t just be sipping your everyday merlot; but wine that gives back to social causes and the environment.

Read on to choose which sip you want to support, from sustainable seafood to stopping animal cruelty to providing jobs for ex-inmates and beyond. Cheers to that!

wine that gives back

Berlin, creator of Proud Pour and bottles. Photo courtesy of Proud Pour.

1) Save The Oysters With Sauvignon Blanc

Proud Pour (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

When Proud Pour CEOs Berlin Kelly and Brian Thurber realized they shared a love for Mother Earth — and wine — a genius beverage was born. Their sauvignon blanc donates 100% of proceeds to the planet. In fact, the purchase of each bottle restores 100 oysters, which in turn helps clean 3,000 gallons of water per day. Adds Kelly, “Often times 100% of our profits aren’t enough to restore 100 oysters or plant 875 wildflowers per bottle, so we’ll forego salaries and use our personal savings to do the work.”

Their sauvignon blanc is sustainably grown on a family-owned vineyard in California. The wine’s floral notes are well balanced with minimal acidity and a smooth minerality to pair perfectly with farmed oysters.

wine that gives back

Meg Murray of Nasty Woman Wines. Photo courtesy of Nasty Woman Wines.

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD

Kiva: Be Bold for Change, Invest in Her

I learned about Kiva years ago after reading the life-changing book “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  This book could not have been more timely in my life as after reading it, I immediately began investing in women at Kiva and also using my voice as a blogger and social good advocate to help improve the lives of women and girls.

Kiva is an international nonprofit founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. What I love about Kiva is the brilliant concept of using small micro loans to empower people in the developing world to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. These are normally people who do not have access to traditional bank accounts and Kiva’s micro loans provide the missing link that they need to succeed. Kiva’s loans not only improve but change thousands of lives and what a greater gift than providing opportunity and empowerment, especially to women.

In honor of International Women’s Day this Wednesday, March 8th, Kiva has launched an exciting campaign called “Be Bold for Change, Invest in Her”.  The ambitious goal is to crowd fund $3 million in loads for thousands of women from March 1-8Kiva is offering 10,000 new visitors the chance to lend the equivalent of $25 on Kiva for free as part of the campaign.  You can choose which woman you want to support – a woman starting or growing a business, going to school, accessing clean energy or investing in her community. 

invest_in_her-preview

 

 

Individual loans of $25 are collected until that woman’s loan request is fully “crowdfunded.” It doesn’t cost new visitors a thing and they can be part of achieving the campaign’s overall $3 million goal alongside Kiva’s 1.6 million individual lenders. Furthermore, 100% of every dollar you lend on Kiva goes to funding loans. Kiva covers costs primarily through optional donations, as well as through support from grants and sponsors.

Gifts that Give Back Global Issues SOCIAL GOOD Women and Girls
5by20 Coca-Cola

5by20: How Coca-Cola is Empowering Women around the World

Author’s note: I received products from Coca-Cola’s 5by20 program; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You know how much I love to share amazing gifts that give back and empower women. 

“All women, everywhere, have the same hopes: we want to be self-sufficient and create better lives for ourselves and our loved ones. When we invest in women, we invest in a powerful source of global development.  – Melinda Gates

Throughout my life, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel to some of the most remote corners of the earth. Through my travels and work as a social good blogger, I’ve witnessed inequality and injustice however I’ve also seen the tremendous opportunity to make the world a better place for all.

Today, millions of people in the developing world continue to live in extreme poverty, and the majority of them are women and girls. Women lack education, healthcare, water and sanitation, and most of all economic opportunities to lift them and their families out of poverty. Despite this seemingly depressing reality, there is an enormous amount of hope and opportunity to improve the lives of women around the world.

In the field of international development, it is a well-known fact that women are powerful agents of change and development. Studies show that women are likely to reinvest 90% of their income in food, education and healthcare for their children and their families.  Therefore empowering a woman and unlocking her economic potential can be the most influential force in breaking the cycle of poverty and creating long-term social and economic benefits for their family, their community and the world as a whole.  They just need opportunities to do so.

In 2010, The Coca-Cola Company launched 5by20, an initiative aimed at lifting 5 million women out of poverty by 2020, one woman at a time. 5by20 eliminates some of the critical barriers keeping women from entering and succeeding in the global marketplace by providing access to skills and business training, financial resources and peer-to-peer mentorship to women entrepreneurs around the world. 5by20 empowers and helps women to successfully grow their business and incomes. Their increase in earnings has a ripple effect throughout the community, bringing new prosperity not only to their families but to the community as a whole. Since 5b20’s launch in 2010, the program has reached more than 1.2 million women across 60 countries.

This inspiring short video, “Chain of Inspiration,” honors the strong women we work with the 5by20 initiative. 

Meet the artisans

From farmers to distributors, retailers to recyclers, these amazing women are part of the Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 program. The women artisans create beautiful, one-of-a-kind handmade products such as jewelry, handbags and home decor from upcycled packaging, like Coca-Cola labels and pull tabs which are often discarded as waste, and in turn, elevate themselves, their families, and their communities.

Here is a slideshow of some of the 5by20 women artisans in the Amazon. 

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“If you want to see things happen at a global level, start at the village level. Give women the tools and education and they will drive the change”. – Melinda Gates

Simply put, women are the driving force of promoting change. They just need the opportunity. The Coca-Cola Company has found an amazing, impactful way to help woman at all stages of the supply chain.

Here is a short video introducing some of the wonderful women who benefit from the Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 program: 

The 5by20 artisans are diverting packaging from landfill sites and improving the livelihoods of thousands of women. Here are some of the creative ways the women recreate beautiful products:

The Coletivo Piraquet Handbag (made in Brazil)

The scales of the ancient Pirarucu fish, found in the rivers and lakes of the Amazon, provided inspiration for this elegant bag. Recycled PET scales are hand seen onto mesh to create this delicate beauty.

The scales of the ancient Pirarucu fish, found in the rivers and lakes of the Amazon, provided inspiration for this elegant bag. Recycled PET scales are hand seen onto mesh to create this delicate beauty.

 

Bottle Cap Purse (made in Turkey)

5by20 Coca-Cola

Recycled bottle caps make this handy purse even more special.

Some of the products I received in my box from the Coca-Cola Company 5by20 program:

Acacia Creations Soda Can Giraffe (made in Kenya), The Classic Flower (made in Mexicao) and the PCF Narrow Ring-Pull Bracelet (made in the Philippines). All these products are handmade using recycled aluminum cans or ring-pulls.

fullsizerender

This International Women’s Day on Wednesday, March 8th– and every day – let’s celebrates women and the extraordinary roles they hold in their communities, families and places of work.

Additional resources:

To learn more, please visit #5by20. To visit the 5by20 merchandise shop, click here.

Meet 5by20 Artisans Jocelyn and Marlene – An inspiring success story of how two women living in the Philippines and in Brazil lifted themselves out of poverty and improved their lives with the help of the 5by20 program.

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD
Jacques Eugene Croix des Bouquet Haiti

The Ingenuity of Repurposing Metal into Art

Two years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to go to Haiti as part of a program to view Macy’s Heart of Haiti products and meet the artisans behind the beautiful art. It was an incredible trip in many ways as it opened my heart and mind to a different side of Haiti that is often not discussed in the press. Instead of seeing tragedy, hardship and destruction I saw amazing resilience, hope and creativity through the arts. While many challenges remain for the people of Haiti – it still is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere – there also lies opportunity and beauty especially through its vibrant, dynamic arts much that is made from repurposed materials that would otherwise send up in the trash.

One such community that is ingeniously using scraps of metal to create beautiful works of art is Croix-des-Bouquet a neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Over 60 years ago, Georges Liautaud began a movement in creating metal art from recycled products that became the thriving metal artisan community of Croix-des-Bouquet.

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Today, Croix-des-Bouquet has over 1,000 metal artisans making their fabulous metal art with over 60 different shops and studios creating social change and opportunity in this growing community in Port-au-Prince. Croix-des-Bouquet is where the most famous, accomplished metal artisans reside who have traveled the world with their art and have become instrumental within the community by creating apprenticeship opportunities for Haitians to learn their trade.

CULTURE Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY Weekly Photo Challenges
Jacmel Haiti

Last Minute Gifts that Give Back from Macy’s

Searching for that last minute holiday gift? Why not consider a beautiful gift that also gives back from Macy’s Heart of Haiti or Rwanda Path to Peace product line? Designed to improve and enrich lives, Macy’s extraordinary collection of handcrafted art makes change and hope possible in Haiti and Rwanda. Both programs were developed using a “trade-not-aid” model that connects Haitian and Rwandan artisans to the global marketplace, providing a sustainable income to reinvest in their families, health, education and lives.

I have written extensively about both initiatives before and even had the incredible opportunity to go to Haiti in February 2015 to meet the Heart of Haiti artisans in person. Haiti was a life-changing trip where I witnessed the deep love of the arts and creativity in a nation that had been hit by so many tragedies yet remains so incredibly resilient.

The situation in Haiti still remains dire. The devastating earthquake of January 2010 and the most recent hurricane in 2016, have made it virtually impossible for many Haitians to make a living. Out of a population of 10 million people, an estimated 400,000 Haitians are artisans who rely solely on their handcrafted goods as a source of income. Astonishingly, the arts is the largest sector of employment in Haiti. Haitians have a deep-rooted love and culture of many different forms of art ranging from metal work to sandstone carvings to paper-mache and painting.

Heart of Haiti was established after the 2010 earthquake as a way to help the Haitian artisan economy survive and access markets. The first collection of Heart of Haiti products was launched in the fall of 2010 by a partnership between the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and humanitarian Willa Shalit, and the initiative has grown steadily ever since.

Today, Heart of Haiti employs 550 artisans providing a steady income that benefits an extended 4,500 family members. This means more people are able to repair their homes, pay school fees for their children, and feed and clothe their families. Steady income means better nutrition, improved education, and access to healthcare. Now entering its seventh year, the Macy’s Heart of Haiti program continues its goal of helping Haitian artisans achieve economic empowerment through the sale of their handcrafted goods. Artisans receive 22 percent of the retail price for each item in the collection.

This holiday season, why not consider purchasing a Heart of Haiti tree ornament?

 

Heart of Haiti Tree Ornament

Heart of Haiti Tree Ornament

Heart of Haiti tree ornament

Capture the true spirit of the holiday season with this fir-tree shaped ornament. Crafted with recycled metal and hand-painted by artisans from Haiti, this ornament can both decorate your Christmas Tree and help sustain fair trade opportunities for the communities that need it most. With a red organza ribbon attached for hanging, you can make your own unique winter wonderland. $13.00. To purchase this ornament, click here.

Other lovely products from Heart of Haiti include:

Heart of Haiti Soapstone Heart

Heart of Haiti Soapstone Heart

Heart of Haiti Soapstone Heart:

Shimmering in gold, the Soapstone heart can grace your home in a variety of different ways. This figurine, an unmistakable symbol of love, is covered with gold leaf on top. Each individual figurine is crafted with care by Haitian artisans who now have the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families. $16

 

I also really love the incredible metal art made out of recycled metal and the paper-mache. When I was in Haiti, I got to visit both metal artisans and paper-mache artists. It was amazing to see how they create such gorgeous works of art. Here are a few of my favorites below.

 

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD
Love your Melon hats

Gifts that Give Back to and for Children

My Gifts that Give Back Gift Guide has been the most viewed post on my blog for over a year straight which says a lot since I have been blogging for almost six years and have well over 1,000 posts. It has become so popular that I created a permanent page on my blog of Gifts that Give Back and am updating it all the time with new, inspiring organizations.

The wonderful news is that business is booming for these organizations and I am utterly blessed that I have played a small role in helping give back. From buying a handmade scarf that helps send a girl to school in India or a candle made by Syrian refugees, there is so much you can do to help out.

Even better is that Gifts that Give Back don’t have to be only for adults. There are also several wonderful gifts that give back to and for children. Without further ado, here is a list of some of the best gifts for children that help other children around the world.

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD

Gifts that Give Back: b.a.r.e soaps

I am always looking for inspiring social good enterprises to feature on my blog. This past month, I had the opportunity to speak with Jessie Yoh, Co-Founder and CEO of b.a.r.e. soaps, an all natural, socially conscious soap and candle company that helps women and children in Uganda and India. b.a.r.e. stands for “bringing antiseptic resources to everyone” and was built on the idea that something as simple as a bar of soap can effectively help prevent the spread of diseases and illnesses while improving overall health and hygiene.

b.a.r.e soaps was inspired by Jessie’s friend Clare Li’s mission trips to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Uganda where she witnessed the desperate need for basic health necessities. After every mission trip, Clare returned energized to make a difference but was never sure how. The idea behind b.a.r.e. soaps didn’t arise until August 2012 when Clare was in Uganda, and brainstormed an idea to make her own soap and use proceeds to invest in developing communities that lacked basic sanitation.

b.a.r.e. soaps

b.a.r.e. soaps

After Clare returned to the US, she pitched her good friend Jessie her idea. Jessie, a business major, hopped on board immediately. Upon further research, the pair realized that there was a problem also at home. The soap we typically buy from our local grocer or drugstore isn’t really soap. In actuality, it’s made with synthetic and artificial compounds. Thus, a two-fold mission for b.a.r.e. soaps began: First, to educate and provide an all-natural product for those at home, and second to create a sustainable sanitation program for the children in Kaberamaido, Uganda. While working full-time, the pair launched the business in September 2013 and have been changing lives ever since.

Here is their inspiring story. 

b.a.r.e. soaps

b.a.r.e. soaps

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD

2016 Holiday Guide of Gifts that Give Back

What better gift is there than teaching your child the spirit of giving this holiday season!  Why not create a family tradition that gives back by supporting  one of these amazing organizations with holiday gifts that help people around the world?

A few years ago, I began highlighting different organizations that offer wonderful gifts that also give back to a cause.  Given how popular the posts have been, I created a permanent Gifts that Give Back page on my blog and last holiday season that page alone received 10,000 views in the months of November and December! I was thrilled to know that these amazing organizations and causes were getting more customers from my blog. Without further ado, here is my updated 2016 Holiday Guide of Gifts that Give Back. I hope you enjoy and please comment if you know of any I’ve missed and please share with friends. Happy Shopping!

Gifts that help women

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD
Bird + Stone

Bird + Stone: Meet the jewelry brand helping women and girls around the world

“Do one thing everyday that scares you” – Eleanor Roosevelt (Elana’s favorite quote)

I am amazed by the number of millennials who are not satisfied with the ordinary 9 to 5 job and instead have taken a chance to make a difference in the world. One such woman is Elana Reinholtz, the young social entrepreneur behind Bird + Stone. Elana left an aspiring career in finance in the heart of Manhattan to help single women in Kenya through her company, Bird + Stone.

Bird + Stone is a socially conscious jewelry company with mission aligned products designed to inspire, educate, and most importantly help shape the dreams of deserving women who aspire to be independent and financially stable. As a social enterprise, Bird + Stone uses jewelry as a funding vehicle for micro-loans and financial training, and invests in single mothers in Kenya to start farming businesses to help lift themselves out of poverty. It is a beautiful concept and has shown much success in changing lives.

Bird + Stone

Elana teaching business classes to women in Kenya

Today October 11th, in honor of International Day of the Girl, Bird + Stone is partnering with Girl Up, a campaign of the UN Foundation, to help fund access to and education for the 62 million girls out of school around the globe. Each bracelet will give $3 to Girl Up programs for girls to become leaders in their communities and get access to school.

To see the new Girl Up and Bird + Stone Bracelets launched today, click here. 

Bird + Stone

New Girl Up Bracelet by Bird + Stone

I had the opportunity to chat with Elana and meet her in person in NYC to learn more about the inspiration behind Bird + Stone and why she views micro-loans as a way of changing lives in Kenya. Here is what she had to say.

Gifts that Give Back SOCIAL GOOD