As travellers, we are well aware of the many problems in our world. We’ve seen heartbreaking poverty, poorly treated animals, ecosystems under threat and the decimation of historic and cultural sites. When shopping for gifts, I like to look beyond the direct recipient to see if what I’m gifting can have a greater impact. Here I share my favourite presents and places to shop for gifts that give back.
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Gift a goat or maybe a pile of poo
Just kidding…maybe. When you purchase a farm animal, a water pump, school supplies or another present from Oxfam, you are actually donating money that will be put to use fighting inequality and discrimination. Those funds help provide access to basic necessities such as food and water or supplying relief after a natural disaster. A card is sent to the recipient of your gift explaining how it is changing lives. I love that you can give that work frenemy or spoilt brat nephew/niece a pile of manure and still be doing something nice for someone. It makes for an amusing, conversation-starting, Secret Santa gift too.
Adopt an endangered animal
Maybe you are gifting to an animal lover and there are innumerable options for “adopting” an endangered species that needs some support. You can adopt a sleepy-eyed sloth, cute koala or any number of threatened species from around the world through the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Alternatively, look for a local organization such as the National Parks Service in the USA, Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia or APOPO that trains rats to sniff out landmines – WHAT!? After my visit to the Grand Canyon last year, I adopted several mountain lions on behalf of the kidlets in my life. They didn’t miss out either, with plush toys and an adoption certificate for their new “pet”.
Subscribe to stylish decor and accessories
Subscription boxes are all the rage, so why not choose one that is helping to sustain global artisans such as Globein? A subscription, as opposed to a one-off purchase, provides job security and a consistent income for artisans.
Gift a membership that preserves art & culture
If your gift recipient is an art, architecture or history lover, buy them a year’s membership to their favourite museum or gallery. For example, The Met in New York City or the British Museum, London. Membership dollars are generally used to preserve and maintain museum collections, while your loved one receives free/discounted entry and possibly even invitations to special members-only events.
Don’t forget home museums such as Sydney Living Museums taking care of remarkable heritage homes in Australia, and The Preservation Society of Newport County that runs and maintains the Newport Mansions in Rhode Island, USA.
Fund land mine removal with jewellery
If you really want to impress, why not buy that special someone a piece of jewellery from Article22. This fabulous brand works with Laotian artisans to create jewellery from war shrapnel. Laos was heavily bombed during the Secret War (tied to the Vietnam War) and communities are still threatened today by unexploded ordinances littered throughout the country. Article22 works closely with MAG (Mines Advisory Group) to fund the safe removal of landmines and uses metal from these weapons to create stunning jewellery pieces. If that’s not impressive enough, Emma Watson wears Article22 pieces, what better endorsement?! Not sold yet? Though one of the more expensive ideas on this list of gifts that give back, they are still surprisingly affordable and yes, there are pieces for the guys too.
Protect children around the globe with artisan goods
UNICEF Market provides an online retail space for artisan goods from impoverished makers and communities around the world. Not only does your purchase contribute to UNICEF’s important work with vulnerable children worldwide, but also benefits the artisans themselves. While UNICEF works to ensure kids have proper nutrition, safe drinking water, affordable vaccines and other basic necessities, the Market gives makers an opportunity to reach a much broader shopping audience than they could alone. To help, shop fashion, decor, gifts and accessories from different regions of the world through UNICEF Market.
Do you have a favourite gift that gives back? Please share it with us in the comments below. See Unique Travel Gifts for Creative Globetrotters for present ideas to delight creative souls taking to the road.
Peace, love & inspiring travel,