Access to Education: High School Scholarships
In February 2017, half of the net proceeds from customers' purchases during 2016 were donated to boMake, the nonprofit arm of our artisan group Gone Rural in Swaziland, Africa. These funds are being given as scholarships to 10 deserving orphans for a year of high school education. Globally, 170 million children do not attend school, the vast majority of whom are girls. In 2015, Swaziland’s government mandated free tuition for primary school, however, the country still lacks the proper funds to truly make standardized education a complete reality. Consequently, schools are overcrowded and many students are unable to attend secondary(high) school due to the added cost. For those who do make to high school, the average annual fee to attend equates to $283USD (4035 ZAR). While that may not seem like much by our standards, the average family in Swaziland supports 6-8 school-age dependents on an annual family income of only $276 USD (3960 ZAR). Many of these dependents are orphans—their parents taken prematurely from them by AIDS or other health related illnesses. Thank you for helping these students receive their high school education, unrestricted by the constraints of gender or circumstance, by going shopping on Shopping for a Change!
The Future Looks Bright Project
Half of the net proceeds from our 2015 product sales were used to purchase and donate eyewear for 2500 artisans across three (3) continents, who need glasses for their detailed work. Between the ages of 30-55 yrs. old, people typically begin to lose their ability to clearly see up close, which can be truly devastating for an artisan. Not only does their production begin to dwindle when they cannot see well, but they risk losing their ability to work entirely. By providing this eyewear they once again are capable of working to their fullest capacity, enabling them to provide necessary food, shelter and education for their children.
"Now after using the new eyeglasses I can make 45 hand forged rings per day, before I could only make 30, I am very happy because I can make more money."--Pak Suwirya
Bangladeshi Preschool Project
Half of the net proceeds from our product sales during 2014 financed the opening of two new preschools in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. This project was a collaborative effort between Shopping for a Change® and our partnering artisan organization, Pebble Child. Pebble employs over 6800 disadvantaged women, living in 65 rural places throughout Bangladesh. Beginning February 9, 2015, forty children, ages 3-6 whose mother’s handcraft Pebble’s adorable handknit toys and apparel, proudly began attending our two preschools in Sirajgonj and Mouliribazar, free of charge. Their preschool attendance enables them to enter primary school having already learned some of their studies, and provides them with an advantage. Their artisan mother's productivity levels increase significantly when the women feel secure about the well-being of their children, and they are more committed to investing their income for the higher education of their children. The education rate in the village also increases as women become empowered through better earnings.
Nutritional Empowerment in the Amazon
The Nutritional Empowerment Project was a collaborative effort between Shopping for a Change and the Faire Collection, formerly known as the Andean Collection. It was jointly funded with net proceeds from our 2013 sales, and an in-kind contribution by the Faire Collection. Our efforts were focused on supporting local Kichwa artisans in the Ecuadorian Amazon region in a sustainable farming project. The Kichwa's persistent issues with access to food and the effects of malnourishment were problems we were determined to help them solve. Details of the project are available as a downloadable pdf file. Click to Download.
Tibane Water Project
Oltumusoi Education Project
Net proceeds from our 2012 sales were donated to cover the costs of a local teacher's salary for a year at Oltumusoi Primary School in Kenya. Benefiting the children of Maasai artisans working with The Leakey Collection, our grant reduced the student-teacher ratio from 80:1 to 40:1 during the 2014 school year. Our sponsorship is managed by Trust for Rural African Development and Enterprise (TRADE), founded by Katy and Philip Leakey, of the famed Leakey family.