By Blythe Copeland, Planet Green
This Mother’s Day, forget the flowers: Instead, treat your mom to gifts and accessories handmade by other moms around the world, choosing Fair Trade, artisan-made, and one-of-a-kind classics (like jewelry, bags, shoes, and even gourmet snacks) that help impoverished women and local entrepreneurs make their mark on the global economy. From intricate bags beaded by women in Africa to gluten-free crackers from a pair of moms in Colorado, we’ve got a lineup of gifts that do as much for others as they do for you—now wouldn’t your mom be proud?
1. Doreen Mashika Accessories
Designer Doreen Mashika returned to her birthplace in Tanzania as an adult—after an education and business career that took her through Italy, Switzerland, and England—to combine her two passions: luxury goods and vintage jewelry. Now, her collection of bags, bracelets, earrings, ballet flats, and other accessories show off local gems and recycled glass beads. But the best part? All of her pieces are handmade under Fair Trade conditions by women in nearby villages.
2. Earth Divas Bags
Busy moms need plenty of places to stash their stuff, and the Fair Trade bags at Earth Divas have a style for everyone: the beaded hobo with a shoulder strap that ties at the top so you can adjust the length is just right for the new mom balancing bottles and binkies; a clutch made with recycled silk is the perfect date night accessory; and a chic hemp handbag lets working moms carry everything they need at home and at work.
3. Handmade Gifts from Etsy Moms
Browsing the shops of handmade goods on Etsy means you’re guaranteed to find a one-of-a-kind gift (which is especially good news for over-competitive siblings trying to outdo each other on May 9). But stick with shops run by women who are mothers themselves and you’ll be helping other families all over the country (and the world). Check out the Etsy Mom blog for product showcases, interviews with designers-slash-moms, and gift giveaways that will no doubt be better than whatever your sister came up with.
4. Two Moms in the Raw Snacks
If your mom is an aspiring gourmet-health nut, then help her stock her pantry with organic, gluten-free foods from Two Moms in the Raw, a pair of Colorado-based mothers who make granola and crackers that are 100% vegan—and entirely free of oil and refined sugar. Try Garden Herb or Pesto Sea Crackers and Raw Goji Berry or Raw Cranberry Granola for a tasty treat that’s much healthier than your annual sausage-pancakes-and-mimosas brunch.
5. Hands Up Not Handouts Jewelry
Moms love to give advice, and if your moms favorite tip is “Accessories make the outfit” then she’ll love the goods at Hands Up Not Handouts. This company, which sources bright bracelets from Palestine and modern earrings from Rwanda, supports women in both countries with the production, marketing, and designing of the jewelry—and then puts all the proceeds back into the business and the communities where the women live.
6. Women’s Peace Collection Goods
The difference between the Women’s Peace Collection and other female-driven groups is simple: the WPC focuses specifically on helping women in regions torn by or recovering from war. Give your mom a Jerusalem Candle of Hope made by women in Israel and Palestine; a Peace Basket woven in Darfur or Sudan; a beaded bracelet from Afghanistan; drop earrings from Nepal; or a silk bag from Vietnam, and help support mothers and children who are trying to support themselves.
7. Donate to the International Rescue Committee
Maybe your mom has enough stuff. (Most moms do.) In that case, honor her with a donation to the Interational Rescue Committee, a group that works with refugees around the world to address medical issues, education, resettlement, and legal aid. You can make a flat donation kit or purchase an item that will help a mother elsewhere in the world, like a prenatal care kit or a scholarship to summer school for her child.