The shopping days are winding down for the 2016 Holiday season, but you don’t have to panic yet. I have a few ideas that are not only perfect for last minute, but they give back in some way or another, too!
The Gift of Education
This gift requires no shipping or even wrapping, if you don’t feel like it! You can make a donation to the Kitarini Library Project on Go Fund Me and know that you are unequivocally going to change a child’s life in East Africa. This funding project was started by my friend Dan Lynch, a gem cutter who has gone on a couple of trips to Tanzania and Kenya, and is also a former book publisher who truly knows the impact that reading can have. Hundreds of books have been donated and carried over–one suitcase at a time–to this Maasai primary school in Tanzania, but there is currently no where to put them or a check out system in place. Building a library in this remote location deep in the bush not only benefits the 400 plus children at the school, but makes a huge impact on the surrounding community in this area of artisanal ruby mining. If you normally give your parents–who don’t have any more space for tchotchkes–a donation to an org, consider this project. Rather than research charity ratings online and worry whether your gift donation might actually end up doing something worthwhile, you can donate to this completely grass-roots endeavor that will get this DONE by purely volunteer efforts out of a sense of investing in this community.
Donate here, or click on the photo below: https://www.gofundme.com/KitariniLibrary
Diamonds Unleashed and Empowering Girls
Jewelry designer Kara Ross unveiled the Diamonds Unleashed program, which supports and empowers women and girls globally with 100% of their net proceeds. Diamonds Unleashed draws a perfect analogy between women and diamonds: both are “strong, beautiful, multi-faceted, brilliant, and unbreakable.” I really love that the proceeds go towards micro-finance and education, including She’s the First and Girls Who Code. You can visit the website to see jewelry items in various price ranges and styles, but I’d take this diamond ring, if Santa is listening…
SSP: The Gift of Development
Of course, if you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know about my own jewelry company that gives back, ANZA Gems. So I guess this is SSP: shameless self promotion. The value starts at the ground level–literally–when I buy rough gems directly in Tanzania and Kenya, paying fair market value to trusted dealers there. The gems are cut by a number of US faceters, then set into designer jewelry capsule collections. The legacy of this responsible jewelry, besides truly beautiful jewels, is that 10% of the purchase of every piece goes to education in East Africa, at the primary and also the trade level, so that Africans can learn to cut their own gems. There are a number of gorgeous pieces available for sale at our newly-launched ecommerce site here anzagems.com, including this Okenoite (a special variety of Kenyan feldspar) pendant set by Jennifer Dawes Design. This gem was purchased on my first gem buying trip from Okeno, a gem dealer and miner who very sadly passed away earlier this year. I will be donating 40% of the purchase to Okeno’s family, plus the usual 10% to education, which was Okeno’s dream and legacy for his native Kenya. We can get this to you by Friday, with free shipping and beautiful packaging that benefits the Tanzanian Maasai women who make it!
The Gift of (Film) Experience: Sharing the Rough
As a final idea, you can also get the jewelry documentary, Sharing the Rough, as a meaningful gift. This film has only been seen through private screenings or film festivals (where it won a number of awards), and was just released in gorgeous Blu-ray. Sharing the Rough has impacted so many people’s lives: from the people who have been moved to start companies and foundations based on seeing the film, to donations by viewers to the Devon Foundation that supports education in Tanzania, to the miners and gem communities profiled in the film. If you know someone who loves documentaries, travel, the impact of an emerging market in developing nations, rocks, mining, gems, or anything sparkly, this film would be a great gift. Available through the Sharing the Rough website here, and if you order SOON, you should be able to get it in time for the Holidays!