This is a sponsored post by Catalyst Collections, offering fair trade gifts that support women around the world.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I frequently feature fair trade gifts. Whether it’s through one of my holiday gift guides or just in support of an organization I happen to love, I believe that our money can make a difference in more ways than you think.
When I worked on my (now defunct) project, Charitable Influence, we learned so much about how donations can be timely and necessary for parts of the world in need. But to make a sustainable difference, we need to help others create an economy.
Catalyst Collections is an organization that is doing exactly that by working with women artisans in Iraq and Haiti. They are operated by Prosperity Catalyst, a US-based nonprofit dedicated to building and strengthening women-led businesses that help create opportunities for vulnerable women to achieve economic empowerment.
With each purchase, you are supporting a mother, daughter, wife, entrepreneur, sister, and artisan. Many of them have faced a lifetime of struggle in countries where it’s hard to earn an income, let alone be respected and encouraged as a working woman.
A purchase of one of these handcrafted products, or similar products, will give one of these incredible women an income for themselves and their family. 100% of the profit from your purchase is re-invested into the local enterprise hubs to support the continued development of local business and artisan skills.
Gifts from Haiti – Fanm Limye
In Haiti, Prosperity Catalyst works with their local Haitian affiliate, Fanm Limye, which means “Women Illuminated” in Haitian Creole. It’s a network of small businesses, including candle makers, metal workers, recyclers, and beekeepers, working together to produce products for your home. Here are some of the products I sampled.
Hibiscus Garden Stake
The hibiscus, also known in Haitian Creole as “rose kayenn”, is the unofficial national flower of Haiti. These metal staked hibiscus flowers are actually handmade from recycled metal oil barrels.
So what’s a nice flower stake doing in a garden bed like this? We’re actually growing tomatillos this year and you have to plant at least two of them for success as they require pollination to produce fruit. The Hibiscus Garden Stake adds a pop of colors to attract natural pollinators to the garden bed.
By the way, those paper bulbs you see on the plants are tomatillos slowly growing. Success!
Fanm Limye Box
This little box is a piece of art perfect for giving gifts or holding odds and ends. The beautiful print is an original work by Haitian artist Sully Gutemberg incorporating vibrant colors, traditional Haitian symbols and nature.
So what am I using my Fanm Limye box for? Currently it’s holding our hopes and dreams for a fall garden! We’ve never down a cool weather garden but we’re looking forward to planting our seedlings soon.
Gifts from Iraq – Akkadian
Prosperity Catalyst started working with women in Iraq in 2013. The Akkadian Collection is the first offering of an innovative program helping to create economic opportunities for Iraqi women through entrepreneurship and handcrafting artisan products for sale all over the world. The name Akkadian comes from Akkad, a city in Ancient Mesopotamia.
The project has grown to include vulnerable women all over Iraq, including war widows, internally displaced women fleeing ISIS, and religious minorities.
I was able to sample three of these beautifully hand-crafted products.
Rooster Wire Earrings
These lead and nickel free earrings come in four different animal shapes: rooster, frog, sheep, pig. And because they’re wire, they’re actually really lightweight!
So what’s a girl like me doing wearing my Rooster Wire Earrings in the garden? Because gardening is a daily activity. Whether it’s picking the harvest or (mostly) dealing with pests, I’m out there rain or shine no matter what I’m wearing. Plus the farmhouse theme kinda goes!
Palm Leaf Tray
This tray is woven from palm leaves ethically sourced from Iraq’s famed Mesopotamian Marshes. It’s designed to be displayed on your wall or as a decorative table piece and is handwoven using sustainably harvested palm leaves.
In my case, I’m using my Palm Leaf Tray to show off some of my harvest this year. We’ve had a prolific showing of pickling cucumbers and zucchini so far. We also harvested tons of blueberries and we’re anxiously awaiting tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, peanuts, and artichokes!
This beautiful candle can brighten up your decor and the scent will liven up your house. This candle is available in the following scents:
- Chamomile: Refreshing and herbal, encourages relaxation
- Lavender: Floral and soothing, promotes serenity
- Rosemary: Light and woody, adds brightness
- Vanilla: Creamy and deep, invites comfort
- After the Rain: Crisp and clean, boosts energy
- Kulecha: Sweet Iraqi dessert, induces nostalgia
- Samoon: Freshly baked Iraqi bread, brings warmth
What I loved the most about the Peony Candle above all the others was the card that came with it from the artisan creator, Hana’a Alwan, who included some of her personal story with the candle:
I am a widow and mother of three. After becoming a widow, I suddenly became responsible for supporting my kids on my own but my family would not let me work outside of the home because of social traditions. Prosperity Catalyst gave me the ability to work and learn a skill that I can do from home. They made it possible for me to provide for my children. Candle-making brings me an internal relief and calmness.
Knowing her story made the connection to the candle feel more personal. And it also made me realize how many significant stories are attached to all of the other fair trade gifts from women around the world.
Learn more about Fair Trade Gifts from Catalyst Collections
If you’re looking to find ways to support women around the world, consider your next gift from Catalyst Collections or simply treat yourself (you know you want those pig earrings!).
Be sure to connect with them socially:
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/catalyst_collections/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catalystcollections/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ProsperityCatal
And tune into Facebook on Wednesday, July 28th at 8 pm ET for a giveaway of a set of items from Catalyst Collection with The Compass Girls! https://www.facebook.com/TheCompassGirls