Thankfully, most Canadians have never experienced war. In Cambodia, however, people are still healing from the destruction of the past. Years after the Vietnam War and the Pol Pot genocide, Cambodia’s countryside is still littered with bomb and artillery shell casings. Reminders of war are everywhere, and healing is an ongoing process. As a way to heal from the past, the makers of Rajana Association use these reminders of tragedy and transform them into beautiful pieces of jewellery that are wearable symbols of hope, peace and strength.
Van Sovann is one of the jewellery makers working at Rajana. He is 38 years old and has been working with Rajana for 20 years. When asked what he wants to share with Canadians, he said, “Thank you very much for your support. When you buy our products, it provides me with the ability to take care of my family.”
According to Sovann, it takes six people to craft one piece
of jewellery and depending on how complicated the design is, three to four
pieces of jewellery can be made in one day. First, the recycled brass casings
are sourced and collected from a village nearby. Next, using an acetylene torch,
the casings are cut and assembled into earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Then,
symbols of hope and peace, such as doves, are engraved into the metal by hand. Finally,
each piece is polished and shined. Sovann enjoys welding and assembling the
pieces of jewellery.
Each piece of jewellery is a symbol of hope, peace and
strength. By transforming symbols of war into symbols of beauty, Cambodians like
Sovann are supporting their families, healing from the past and looking forward
to the future.
Browse our handcrafted bombshell jewellery collection online and wear these symbols of strength wherever you go.
Handcrafted by makers working with Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS), KTS rugs are the perfect addition to your living room, family room or bedroom. Traditionally, these rugs were made with the intention of sitting and sleeping on them, but the rugs are now made with the purpose of adding warmth and decoration to a room.
Each rug takes five people to craft and is made from hand
spun Tibetan sheep wool. First, one
person hand spins the sheep wool into yarn. Second, using environmentally
friendly dyes, one person hand dyes the yarn. Then, one person winds the yarn
before another person weaves the rug. Finally, the process ends with one person
trimming. In one day, one individual can finish 0.138 square metres of the rug.
Four out of five of these tasks are usually done by women.
The Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS) offers training in
wool spinning, hand knitting and carpet weaving to members of low-caste
communities in Nepal. Graduates of the training program have the opportunity to
move into employment at KTS or to establish their own workshops. KTS embraces
environmentally friendly practices such as the use of AZO-friendly dyes for
carpets. In addition to the technical school, KTS operates an orphanage
for abandoned children, a nursery, a primary school for children from
impoverished families and a workplace daycare. Other benefits include literacy
classes, training in writing and basic numeracy, women’s health education,
health and accident insurance and access to loans.
Sita B K is one of the carpet weavers working at KTS. She is
48 years old and has been working with KTS for 14 years.
“I have experienced a lot of changes since joining KTS. I have become independent and can send my children to the KTS primary school. I would like to thank you all for buying our products.”
Sita B K
Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS)
Add a touch of warmth and decoration to your home with one
of these beautiful, handcrafted rugs.
No, we’re not going out of business. We’re celebrating summer with up to 70% off select items! With a huge summer sale like this, it might be natural to assume that the reason why we’re offering this sale is because we’re struggling. But the real story is that we love the products the makers create and we love being able to bring new handcrafted items to the Canadian marketplace. In order to continue supporting the makers we work with, we need to make room in our inventory so we can bring more of their handcrafted products to our stores.
“Thank you for buying our products and showing your appreciation for our craft. It keeps us working to support our families.”
This sale is also for you, our customers. Not only will it
allow us to continue to share new, exciting and useful products, but it’s also to
show our appreciation and say ‘thank you’ to all of you for helping us achieve
our mission. Together, we’re improving the lives of makers in developing
countries by supporting their craft.
“Canadians have the
power to change the world every day. With simple shopping choices, you can
support small scale producers to provide better living conditions.”
As always, the sales that we run do not impact the makers. As a founding member of the WFTO, our business is guided by the 10 principles of fair trade and as such, all the makers we work with have been paid in full.
Be a part of the story and help us celebrate our mission by joining in the fun of the summer sale. Shop for loved ones and give a gift with meaning, or shop for yourself and get your home (indoors and outdoors) and wardrobe ready for summer.
Canada Day is almost here! If you’re hosting a July 1 BBQ and
need some ideas on outdoor table settings, then check out our list of
must-haves for every summer BBQ.
A tablecloth is a definite must-have for every outdoor dinner party. It’s a simple and effortless way to spruce up the table. For a centerpiece that also anchors the tablecloth, add a vase with some freshly picked flowers from your garden. This tablecloth was created by makers working with CRC Exports in India.
A pitcher of iced tea or lemonade makes the perfect drink on a hot summer day. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making homemade iced tea or lemonade! Both this pitcher and these drinking glasses are mouth-blown in Bolivia using 100% recycled glass.
Skip wasteful, expensive paper napkins at your next BBQ and try something with cotton or silk. A reusable napkin is easy on the wallet, eco-friendly and adds a decorative touch to your patio table. These blue napkins are softly fringed and were hand-loomed with care.
Dish out appetizers, burgers or sausages in a beautiful platter and serve condiments in a matching tray. Not only will it add a decorative touch, but it’s a great conversation starter. Both this platter and tray were hand painted and glazed in the City of Hebron.
Serve a refreshing salad to your guests. Get your fill of greens or try making a summer salad with fruit! This beautiful, ceramic serving bowl was also hand painted in the City of Hebron where makers earn excellent income and benefit from safe working environments.
A Canadian summer BBQ would be incomplete without these maple leaf coasters! Made out of old newspapers, these coasters keep landfills in the Philippines cleaner. Use them for your July 1 BBQ and every summer BBQ after that!
What are your summer BBQ must-haves? Let us know in the
The kids are almost home for the summer! If you’re looking
for some unique ideas on how to occupy them and keep those “Mom, I’m bored”
comments at bay, then check out some of our suggestions below.
Play outside with your kids this summer! Going to the park or playing a game of soccer is a great way to get your kids active and out in the sunshine. If you’re looking for something different to do outside, then check out our garden card deck. It includes forty fun outdoor activities and games, as well as a booklet with information on gardening tools, plant care and garden safety. It’s a fun and easy way for budding green-thumbs to learn about gardening.
Read to your kids this summer! Visit your local library and have your kids pick out books that are interesting to them. If you’re looking for something new to read to your kids, then check out Look Where We Live. In this picture book, five young friends spend the day traveling around their neighbourhood and participating in activities designed to raise money for their local library. Along the way, they learn about the people and places that make up their community and what it means to be a part of one.
For those rainy summer days, play a board game inside with your kids. If you’re looking for new games your little ones can play, then check out this memory game. They’ll have tons of fun flipping over squares to find the matching animal. Not only will they enjoy themselves and be entertained for hours, but this game will help them build their memory and concentration skills.
This summer, try cooking with your kids! They’ll love getting to eat the final product. Plus, it gives you a chance to teach your kids about kitchen safety and healthy eating. If you’re looking for some new recipes to try making with your kids, then check out the More-with-Less cookbook. The recipes are both healthy and kind to your wallet.
Try Something New
Try something new this summer and do yoga with your kids! Sign up for a family class together or try it in the comfort of your own home, in your backyard or gather up a group of friends and practice in the park with this yoga card deck. Filled with illustrated cards that have clear descriptions and drawings, you can practice bending, twisting and breathing together.
What do you have planned to do with your kids this summer?
Let us know in the comments below!
With the school year coming to an end, it’s the perfect time
to thank your child’s teacher. Show your appreciation with one (or more!) of
these gift ideas. Plus, many of these gifts empower families in countries all
over the world by giving the makers and their children the opportunities to
apply for scholarship funds and attend school, literacy classes and training
sessions. What better gift to give a teacher?
A mug is a classic teacher gift that every educator will not only love but use every day. You can even fill one up with a few chocolate bars too! Famous for its ceramics, this mug is from the village of Bat Trang where makers working with Mai Handicrafts have the opportunity to apply for scholarship funds.
Help your child’s teacher keep their pencils, markers and pens secure with a pencil case. Crafted from jute, this pencil case was made by artisans working with Saidpur Enterprises. The organization offers literacy classes and training sessions on nutrition, women’s legal rights, educational awareness and financial advice.
Teachers will love that these socks help to educate children! With the purchase of these socks, our friends at Conscious Step will make a donation to resource centres in India where children from marginalized communities are given the opportunity to learn, read and write.
But first, tea. Teachers who are tea lovers will love the chance to try something new. This tea is just one of the many types of fair trade tea Ten Thousand Villages carries. Pair this gift idea with one of our mugs for a tea-themed gift!
Gift your child’s teacher with a basket that they can use in their classroom. Made from kaisa grass and recycled plastic, this basket is perfect for holding toys or books. Pair this gift with some of the ideas above and fill it up with school supplies or books!
What are you getting your child’s teacher this year? Or if
you’re a teacher, what would be the perfect gift for you? Let us know in the
Add your favourite picture of you and dad to a frame and you’ve got yourself a simple, yet sentimental Father’s Day gift. The frame pictured above was handcrafted from recycled bicycle chain by the makers of Noah’s Ark.
A wallet is a Father’s Day gift that dad will not only love but use every day. You can even surprise him by sticking a gift card inside! This wallet was hand-stitched by makers in Colombia and made with upcycled materials.
Keep it lighthearted this Father’s Day with a funky pair of socks. With the purchase of these socks, our friends at Conscious Step will make a donation to resource centres in India where children from marginalized communities are given the opportunity to learn, read and write.
Gift dad with his favourite coffee this Father’s Day and spend some quality time drinking it with him. If he’s a coffee connoisseur, he might enjoy trying something different. Pair some coffee with any one of the handmade ceramic mugs from our collection.
Dads who have a sweet tooth will love getting chocolate for Father’s Day. Gather his favourite chocolate bars together and arrange them in a basket. Have him try something new and give him one of our Divine chocolate bars.
Spend some quality time with dad this Father’s Day and play a game with him. If he’s a fan of chess, gift him with a new chess set and then maybe let him win the next game. This chess set was hand carved by the makers of Dominion Traders.
What are you getting your dad for Father’s Day? Or what
would be the perfect gift for you for Father’s Day? Let us know in the comments
Stop by the Museum of Vancouver to take a walk on the wild side and visit the Wild Things exhibit, discover captivating Haida stories including the Bear Mother, or travel back in time to learn about the city’s past from 1900 to 1970. An experience the entire family will enjoy!
Home to thousands of incredible ocean species and amazing aquatic life, the Vancouver Aquarium is the perfect outing for the whole family. Take in the breathtaking exhibits or watch an exciting lineup of educational shows.
Head over to the Sidney Museum to enjoy a LEGO wonderland complete with a 6 foot build by Robin Sather, a professional Canadian Lego Builder, interactive LEGO Mosaic Build, VicLug Lego Display and a LEGO scavenger hunt.
10 AM – 12 PM
Admission: $25 for Members, $30 for Non-Members
You may have seen the soapstone we carry at Ten Thousand Villages, like the Friendship Candleholder or the We Are Three Statue, but now you can create your own soapstone carving! Head over to the Robert Bateman Centre where participants will start with a pre-cut soapstone animal shape of their choosing and are guided into a step-by-step process through a 90-minute workshop.
*For ages 7 to adult, parents can either accompany their child free of charge, or purchase their own soapstone to carve*
Enjoy some good old-fashioned family fun at this winter celebration blending sport, recreation, arts and culture and more. Whether you’re hoping to go for a slip down an ice slide, hitch a ride on a horse drawn sleigh, or explore your way through a fort, there is something for everyone!
Visit the heart of downtown Calgary as they illuminate the city throughout the weekend with one-of-a-kind interactive light displays, art, entertainment, food trucks and activities. On Monday, enjoy a free family skate party at Brightside Hub complete with music, games and prizes!
Gather the clan and head to Prince Albert National Park for some snow-filled adventure of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing or doing Metis inspired activities. Borrow cross-country skis, snowshoes and ice fishing equipment at the Hawood Inn, free of charge, or check out a winter geocache kit at the Visitor Centre and practice your treasure hunting skills with a modern day scavenger hunt!
Enjoy a day with the whole family—including your dog! Embrace the great outdoors through public skating, horse drawn sleigh rides, snow cricket, cross-country skiing and more. If that’s not enough, it’s the only day of the year that the public is allowed onto the ice of Wascana Lake. Be there for all the fun!
Let the kids bounce, laugh, run and play at Kids Fest Toronto which spans over 80,000 square feet at the International Centre in Mississauga. With a variety of inflatables, shows, interactive activities, games, crafts and more, there is something for kids of all ages and perfect for a family day out!
Bring the family together to explore the past of Toronto by touring a historic kitchen from 1826 and sampling baking from the hearth, taking part in hands-on activities, pop-up shows and multi-dimensional exhibits. Make sure to bring your skates because The Bentway at Fort York public skating trail will be open until 9 PM!
Just over the bridge from Downtown Ottawa in the heart of Parc Jacques-Cartier is where super slides, magnificent snow sculptures, shows, a Kiddie Zone for toddlers and plenty more activities await you! This winter playground will get you out of the house, and definitely be a hit for the whole family!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year filled with lots of love, laughter, and family and friends coming together.
With holiday get-togethers in full swing, finding the right hostess gift can be an added last-minute stress. Fortunately, you don’t have to show up empty handed or spend big money to show your gratitude. Gifts under $25 work best, say many etiquette experts.
In fact, there are tricks to make seasonal gifting easier too. For instance buy a few of the same item, and wrap them up, so you’ll be party-ready all season long.
Here are a few ideas to navigate the season with ease.
One word: Food
There’s a reason so many partygoers show up with a bottle of wine or a box of chocolate. Unlike other gift options that tend to clutter the house, food and drinkare enjoyed – and then gone. Candies, cookies and other treats such as confectionaries all work well too.
Curl up with Camino and bring back the tastes of childhood. Made with Fair Trade, organic cocoa from the Dominican Republic, and organic sugar from Paraguay, this luxury beverage is both GMO-free and certified Kosher.
Keep water rings at bay with this set of six neutral yet sparkling coasters created by makers in Moradabad, India. The glass chips are recycled glass taken from old bottles and other glass items. They are cleaned and coloured before use. The set comes in a box for easy storage.
Flowers and plants
A holiday themed floral arrangement or even a Christmas cactus or poinsettia are sure winners too. But to be a really good guest, don’t expect the host to rush around finding a vase in the middle of the party. Arrive with the flowers ready to go in a simple, neutral vase or planter.
Imagine a single bloom in this modern vessel. Genuine stone has a coolness and weight that cannot be mimicked. And because this bud vase is made from real marble, each has a distinct colour and pattern of nature’s choosing. Handcrafted by stone workers with Dominion Traders, which works with underprivileged artisans who make stone and shesham wood crafts in the city of Karachi.
Springtime bouquets get a contemporary lift from this textured vase created by ceramic makers in Nepal’s high mountainous areas. Artisan partner Nepali Craft Trading offers an education allowance for young girls and works with about 90 per cent women, training them so many can earn a living from home or in small local workshops.
A smaller glazed striped planter with matching saucer. Viet Lam Company (Vilaco) is a private exporter that markets ceramics and lacquer-ware along with bamboo, palm leaf and rattan baskets. The company contracts orders from several factories and cooperatives in and around Ho Chi Minh City, providing piece rate work, materials for production and payment for labour costs. In some cases, maker families have been working together for generations, tracing the history of their workshop back more than 800 years. Bring indoors during winter months.
Flower and herbs take root in this whitewashed terracotta planter showcasing a geometric design. Makers form models, and then press clay into them before setting the clay outside to dry in the sun. Historically in Bangladesh, rains were mostly restricted to monsoon season, but terracotta makers have noticed rains are becoming much less predictable. Wet weather can ruin pieces, so they are worried climate change will cause a shortened work season. Please bring inside for winter.
Small and sweet
No one wants to arrive at a party only to find themselves navigating a busy front hallway while clutching an oversized gift. Small and easy to carry? Absolutely. That works. Think guest soaps, lotions, scented candles or tree ornaments along with a nice card instead.
Enjoy the sweet and spicy pleasure of our cinnamon-scented soap, handmade by makers of Palam Rural Centre in Tamil Nadu, India. Palam employs members of the Harijan (“untouchables”) caste, and provides healthcare and schooling for makers’ families. All our soaps made in India use palm oil grown on local plantations. This palm oil provides work to local farmers and does not contribute to deforestation.
Celebrate the magic of the season with this simple beaded bracelet showcasing a metal star charm. Rather than commuting long distances to work in factories, cleaning houses or taking jobs as low-paid sales clerks, Sapia’s makers in Colombia often work from home and, most importantly, have stable and steady income.
Next day gifts
After hours of cleaning, cooking and preparing for guests, hosts often don’t think about what they’ll eat the next morning after the last revelers have gone home. Leave a thoughtful basket behind full of fair trade coffee, jam, croissants and orange juice, and you’ll always be welcome again.
Woven grass baskets keep odds and ends tidy – especially when handles make them easy to hoist and hide. With ocean-hued, earth-friendly recycled plastic accents, this basket was created by women working with Dhaka Handicrafts, ensuring that makers in rural villages have fair wages, safe working conditions and use environmentally friendly processes.
In Uganda, colourful baskets are traditionally given as gifts for holidays and special events. Fill this snowflake basket with clementines or pomegranates for a decorative centrepiece, or keep it by the door as a cheerfully coloured catch-all. Uganda Crafts employs approximately 300 artisans in five workshops or cooperatives, 85 percent of them women.
Baskets are so useful over the holidays, just the thing to keep clutter at bay – or to be filled with gifts to eliminate the need for wrapping paper. In Bangladesh, where this one is make by hand, jute is called the “golden fibre.” And no wonder. Being an annual crop, reed-like jute, which grows three metres high, can be planted and harvested each year, rather than deforesting entire areas. The fibre is also 100% biodegradable and recyclable.
Give them a sweet morning pick-me-up with these dried pineapples. From the fertile valley of Santander, Colombia, the pineapples are picked when ripe to bring out their full flavour and natural sweetness.
Poor dad! According to recent data, people typically spend 50 per cent more on Mother’s Day than on Father’s Day. Of course moms are worth all the attention they get. Let’s face it, mothers do a lot – but fathers are increasingly catching up when it comes to time spent on childcare: 131 minutes per day, according to Statistics Canada.
While the most popular gifts for dad include meals out, clothing, books, music and electronics, meaningful fair trade gifts not only help us celebrate our own fathers, but make life better for maker and farming fathers around the world.
So we asked our staff one question: If you could pick anything from Ten Thousand Villages this year, what would you like to receive or give to dad on Father’s Day? Here’s what they told us.
Play it up
“I think my father would have liked to receive a Mancala set, the African bead game. He would have appreciated it for its seeming simplicity, its endless variables for play and the way it challenges strategic thinking.”
— Lis, Hamilton location associate
“I really have my eye on the Mangowood Mancala Game! It seems like a neat game with a long African history. I like games that require strategy and planning. It seems like the perfect distraction for a rainy day at the lake!”
— Dave, marketing and design coordinator
“One of the games, in particular the fish mancala board. Games are good for quality family time.”
— Gregg, Hamilton location associate
Sip and savour
“The exquisitely hand-blown Phoenician glass in aqua makes me feel the fusion of the West Bank and Hebron, indeed of our wider fair trade world! An ice-cold beverage helps takes the edge off the intense heat of summer and the natural glass feels so delightful in one’s hand.”
— Ian, Hamilton location store manager
“Divine Chocolate! Honestly, it’s the best tasting chocolate I’ve ever had. Definitely a guilty pleasure.”
— Drew, director of sales
Lazy days in the backyard
“My dad will love a summer fun hammock chair!”
— Manisha, Danforth staff member
“My husband works hard around the house and I never have to ask him to get things done, so I’d like to treat him to the gift of relaxation this year with the navy dreams hammock. This will look great in the yard and is made of soft crochet cotton so I know he’ll enjoy relaxing when his chores are done.”
— Andrea, e-commerce sales and business development coordinator
“I will give to my dad the large blue skies planter for his patio.”
— Angela, Danforth staff member
Quirky dad gifts
“I choose the Nosey Spectacle Stand that holds reading glasses. I think that’s a very useful gift because many times people are losing their glasses. It will be handy if they have a place to keep them.”
— Ilias, Danforth location store manager
“My dad has an obsession with clocks—working or not; Grandfather clocks, table clocks, alarm clocks, pocket watches. For Father’s Day, I’ve been looking at the Time to Cruise Hanging Clock that is made from recycled bike chains in India. My dad may have a lot of clocks, but none of them have a beautiful story of hope behind them like this one does!”