Ugandan Gift Guide: Shop for Good

Last year, I fell in love with the beautiful people and country of Uganda.

I traveled there with Bob Goff’s organization, Restore International, and while we were there our team visited many NGOs that made me want to go out and start something significant of my own. As I was thinking about the upcoming Christmas season, I wanted to share with you these five organizations and resources who are making a significant difference in the lives of all who are involved – from artisan to consumer and everyone in between.

Restore International

Restore International Gift Set
image source: restoreinternational.org

This year Restore has put together some great gift package options, including their first round of Restore coffee! And how can you say no to that mug? I’ve seen the mug in person and it’s beautifully designed and holds a generous amount of liquid. If you want to keep it simple, bypass the stuff, and just straight up donate to a great cause, that’s great too!

Krochet Kids (Up to 50% off Site-wide)

Visiting Krochet Kids Uganda in 2013
Visiting Krochet Kids Uganda in 2013

Visiting the Krochet Kids project location in Uganda was so inspiring. The women who work there bring their children along, laughing and chatting as they construct beautiful crocheted items with skill and speed. They were so hospitable to us, sharing the stories of how they got involved with Krochet Kids and how they are using their earnings to start side-businesses of their own to provide for their families. The hats and scarves made in Uganda are of gorgeous quality and color, and I’ve had them on my “to purchase” list since I visited! With winter fast approaching, now is a great time to stock up.

31 Bits (FREE Shipping + 15% off)

31 Bits workspace in Gulu, Uganda. photos by Cindy Biniker
31 Bits workspace in Gulu, Uganda. Photos by Cindy Biniker

This company sells gorgeous paper jewelry handcrafted by hardworking women. My friend Cindy returned to Uganda this fall with Restore, and she was able to visit their workspace in Gulu. When you hear “paper jewelry” at first the image is a bit confusing, but it the paper is coated in a way that they become durable beads. The jewelry is unique and gorgeous and comes in so many colors and designs, you can find something for everyone from your niece to your grandmother.

Banded (FREE shipping on orders over $45)

"Bronze Party" LUXE headband, banded2gether.com
“Bronze Party” LUXE headband, banded2gether.com

This summer a friend of mine clued me in to BANDED, a no-slip headband company that gives back to Amazima, supporting the education of children in Uganda. I am usually not a headband girl due to the usually guaranteed headaches they inflict, but I’m intrigued by their comfort claims. They recently released a LUXE line that I’m positively swooning over, and would make an amazing addition to any girl’s holiday ensemble.

TOMS Marketplace (take 25% off select styles with code CHEER)

Goods from Uganda, image source: toms.com
Goods from Uganda, image source: toms.com

If you want more variety, TOMS (yep, the shoe company) expanded its website last year to include a marketplace, with socially conscious goods from all across the world (including Uganda)!

I hope this gives you some inspiration for gifts that keep on giving! It’s great to know your dollars are put to good work not just sentimentally for the smile on a loved one’s face, but also making a tangible difference in the lives of artisans and small business people around the world.

Where are your favorite places to shop for fair-trade and socially conscious goods?

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