To be honest with you, there are days when it feels hard to connect with the suffering taking place in in the world.
Countries plagued with civil wars, villages stuck in the cycle of poverty, women and children abandoned in many parts of the world…the list goes on and on. And it’s incredibly heartbreaking.
My tiny world in Twin Cities’ suburbia seems a long distance away from the suffering in so many third-world countries. That distance—that isolation—can make it easy to forget about those people and their ever-present nightmares.
Sometimes I’ll hardly think about them unless their circumstances are boldly splashed across my newspaper or trending on my Twitter feed.
And that’s a major problem.
For me, at least.
So I’m working on finding more ways to shrink the world. To eliminate that feeling of isolation and take steps to help alleviate the world’s suffering. In whatever small and ordinary ways I can.
~Give Your Support~
One way we can help is to financially support organizations that are “on the ground” working to bring freedom and opportunity to places where all hope feels lost.
What if you knew with confidence that every item in your jewelry box was made by a woman who was given health care, an education, and a fair wage to support her family?
I want that. I’m sold. I want to support those brands.
Here is a list of 5 socially conscious jewelry lines that are doing some amazing things for people in different parts of the world. Check out their beautiful work and missions!
31 Bits is on a mission to “empower people to rise above poverty” using fashion and design. The name comes from Proverbs 31 (which describes a diligent woman providing for her family) and the “bits” of paper from which their signature beads are made.
The company not only employs women who have suffered in war torn Uganda, but they also assist those women in other areas such as “financial sustainability, physical/mental wellness, social support, and community impact.”
31 Bits also partners with skilled artisans in Bali, a place of the world where cheap labor, child labor, and unsafe working conditions is the norm. 31 Bits allows these families to work in healthy conditions, provide for their families, send their kids to school, and put money into savings.
There are so many beautiful pieces in the 31 Bits collection. As a mama myself, I was drawn to this darling “Mama” necklace, handmade in Bali (I’m wearing this necklace in the pictures above). Their beautiful beads, like those in this “Voyager” necklace, are all handmade in Uganda and made from recycled paper. Their sweet “Bitsies” Kids Jewelry Kit would make a perfect birthday gift.
Like 31 Bits, Tuli is a fair trade company making jewelry beads that are handmade in Uganda. Part of their mission to end poverty in Uganda is to invest in Ugandan communities for long-term change. “Tuli” comes from one of the languages in Uganda (Lugandan) and means “we are.”
Tuli refuses to offer temporary relief or short-term aid. Instead, they work to “empower resourceful, hard-working people in Uganda to earn long-term, sustainable incomes and, in doing so, fight poverty.”
I love Tuli’s emphasis on community and unity for the women in Kampala. They have a beautiful “wedding” collection, like this delicate “Ali” necklace, as well as a more casual collection of rings, bracelets, and necklaces.
You can view more from their shop HERE.
The Base Project employs artisans from Northern Namibia in Africa, a region suffering from a lack of education, rampant unemployment, little to no healthcare, poor access to food and water, as well as the spread of HIV.
The Base Project artisans make their beautiful, up-cycled bracelets from discarded plastic pipes. These pipes are collected, carved, and hand-cut. Not only does The Base Project employ these artisans, but they also introduce them to basic business education. This gives them the skills to “sustain, sell—and grow—at a greater capacity than ever before.”
The Base Project reinvests the proceeds from their jewelry sales back into the community that created them. They fund a number of different community development initiatives that provide access to clean water and education for these communities.
The region’s rich wildlife, landscape, and tribal history inspire the artisan’s craftmanship. From gold and silver bracelets (like this “Deadvlei” silver or this “Oryx” gold tone), to more earthy colors (such as the “Kavango River” or the “Herero Headdress” cuff), The Base Project’s jewelry is definitely worth checking out. You can do so HERE.
Raven + Lily is a Benefit Corporation that was named the “Best for the World in Community Impact in both 2014 and 2016. They employ “at-risk” women who have suffered from sex-trafficking, HIV+, homelessness, and other oppressive circumstances.
Raven + Lily works with over 1,500 women in economically-challenged countries (such as Pakistan, India, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Kenya, and Peru). They offer them jobs, sustainable incomes, health care, education, and an opportunity to break the poverty cycle for themselves and their families.
The fashion industry is the world’s second largest polluter (after oil), so Raven + Lily have taken steps to change that. They research the source of their materials “down to the button,” using recycled materials in order to prevent waste.
Survivors of modern-day slavery handcraft the pieces you can find at Purpose Jewelry. They not only gives these women a fair wage and a fresh start, but they also offer holistic care. This approach ensures their artisans receive freedom and hope for their futures.
The proceeds from Purpose Jewelry go to benefit International Sanctuary, their nonprofit organization that offers these women “education, health care, and counseling.” They’re are able to earn a fair wage and develop employable skills thanks to the work being done at Purpose Jewelry.
If you browse their collection, you’ll discover how beautifully timeless their pieces look (such as this “Infinity” necklace or this “Sierra” necklace). Each piece is subtle and delicate, like this “Current” ring or the “Forget-Me-Knot” cuff. Purpose Jewelry is a beautiful brand working to empower beautiful women. Consider adding a few of their pieces to your jewelry box this season. Shop their online store HERE.
So check out these brands! Not to feel better about yourself or to satisfy some sort of self-righteous agenda. Buy from them because you want to join their mission to fight against the suffering in this world. Support these brands because you want to love your neighbor in whatever way you can. No matter what part of the world they’re from.
***If you’re itching to do more than just buy from these companies, try volunteering! All of them offer volunteer opportunities that they list on their websites. Sometimes taking “steps” to help alleviate suffering might mean taking actual steps to meet these women face to face. If that’s where your heart is at, I say go for it. And send me a postcard!***