Not sure what to get him for Christmas? This holiday season,
give meaning. Every handcrafted gift from Ten Thousand Villages feeds families,
provides healthcare, sends children to school, helps to build safe homes and
empowers women. With every purchase, we fight poverty and improve the lives of
makers and their families around the world. Whether he’s your husband, brother
or dad, he’ll love unwrapping these unique gifts that give back on Christmas
If he’s a skier or snowboarder, he’ll love getting cozy knitwear
for Christmas. This plaid chenille scarf was handwoven in Ecuador by the makers
of Maquita. Maquita works with more than one hundred craft workshops in Ecuador
providing marketing, production and design assistance to over 600 makers.
Skip ordinary socks this Christmas. These fair trade,
organic cotton blend socks help change lives. Our friends at Conscious Step
partner with non-profit organizations to fight poverty and support humanitarian
causes around the world. This year, we’ve partnered with Conscious Step and The
Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS) in Nepal to make our own socks that give
back. Every pair purchased feeds 10 children nutritious snacks through KTS’
daycare and school programs.
If he’s a coffee connoisseur, gift him with his favourite coffee
or try something new this holiday season! When you buy our coffee, you help:
Children in Colombia get uniforms so they can
Farmers in Peru receive education so they can
cultivate healthy, organic food
Communities in the D.R. Congo access
vaccinations to stop the spread of disease
If he has a sweet tooth, gift him with his favourite
chocolate bar or try something new this holiday season! When you buy our
chocolate, you improve the lives and opportunities of small-scale farmers.
What are you getting him for Christmas? Let us know in the
Now that the snow is here (at least in Ontario!) and the
holiday season has arrived, it’s time to start shopping for Christmas gifts.
Are you struggling with what and how much to get your kids for Christmas? Then
we suggest the five gift rule:
Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read
Something to do
Something they want
This is probably the toy that’s at the top of their
Christmas wish list or maybe it’s a fun and new toy to surprise them with!
Whether it’s a toy they want or a toy they didn’t even know they wanted, it’s
sure to make them smile. This adorable Kenyan school girl was hand sewn in
Kenya by the makers of OTICART.
Something they need
This could be an item they need
for their room like a lamp or a desk, supplies they need for school like a new
pencil case or set of markers, or equipment they need for a music or sports
activity they participate in. These three colourful journals were handmade in
the Philippines by the makers of Salay Handmade Paper.
Something to wear
This could be clothing for the upcoming
winter season like sweaters, knitwear or boots, or maybe it’s attire for a
different season or a winter getaway trip you’re taking. This cozy scarf was
handstitched in Nepal by the makers of The Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS). KTS
operates an orphanage, a nursery, a primary school for children of impoverished
families and a workplace daycare.
Something to read
This is the perfect chance to get
them a brand new book they’ve never heard of that you think they’ll like. If
your child is an avid reader, you can get them the next book in the series
they’ve been reading and waiting for!
Something to do
This gift idea is the perfect
chance to spend time together as a family. Whether its tickets to see a movie
or tickets for an amusement park, it gives you the opportunity to bond and make
memories. This solitaire game was handcrafted in Pakistan by makers working
with Dominion Traders.
Do you know what you’re getting
your kids for Christmas? Do you have a set of guidelines that you follow? Let
us know in the comments below!
The holiday season is finally here and we are so excited for
Christmas! Here are some tips for giving your home a holiday makeover.
Before you start decorating your Christmas tree, decide whether you’re going to decorate with modern, playful or a mix of ornaments. If you’re going a more contemporary route, Elle Décor suggests “giving your tree a minimalist twist with geometric gold ornaments.” If you’re going for something more fun, House and Home says that “incorporating playful pieces are a sweet addition that’s sure to appeal to the kid in us all.”
Stockings aren’t just for hanging on fireplaces! They look great just about anywhere you can think of. Country Living suggests making “dressers, armoires, and other storage pieces fit for a visit from Santa by hanging stockings from their pulls and drawers.”
Make your living room warm and cozy for the holiday season with decorative throw pillows. The more pillows, the better! As Country Living puts it, “is there any such thing as too many Christmas pillows?”
Deck the halls with garland! House and Home suggests creating “a merry atmosphere with garland draped over ordinary items.” Add garland any place you can to make every inch of your home merry and bright.
Use beautifully wrapped presents as holiday décor! Elle Décor says “why spend all that time on wrapping gifts to perfection if you aren’t going to show them off?” Line a set of stairs with gifts or place them under your Christmas tree.
Do you have
any holiday decorating tips? Let us know how you decorate your home for
Christmas in the comments below!
Now that fall is in full swing, it’s time to put away your
flip flops and get out your plaid. Fall is a big season for fashion. Here are
our top four must-have accessories for autumn.
Brown Crossbody Purse
The start of the fall season is a great chance to switch up your everyday purse. Forbes says that “one of the most perfect bags for fall is a brown crossbody.” There’s no need to worry about matching your outfit to your purse with a neutral crossbody bag. Simply put your essentials in this purse, swing it over your shoulder and you’re ready for wherever the day takes you!
Stylish scarves are a great way to stay warm while adding a different dynamic to your outfit. Glowsly says that “scarves that keep your neck warm are a season must. Scarves are warm and cozy, but they’re also as glamorous as can be.” This season, try different ways to style your scarf! If you’re stuck in a rut and need new ideas for styling your scarf, then check out this video.
Tassels are on trend this season. Glowsly says that “tassels are a fun way of adding a slightly bohemian vibe to any look.” For your everyday look, go with tassel earrings in black, silver or gold. For a weekend look, try something bold and go with pink or blue tassel earrings.
A long necklace instantly dresses up any basic look. Forbes says that “gold dainty necklaces are timeless, but elegant and long necklaces are especially suited for the fall.” This fall, look for a gold necklace that’s extra-long.
What are your must-have fall accessories? Let us know in the
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we couldn’t be
more excited to spend time with our families and eat all the yummy food. And if
it’s your turn to host a Thanksgiving dinner this year, why not set the table
with beautiful, globally responsible, handcrafted pieces from around the world?
With every Ten Thousand Villages purchase, makers are paid fairly for their
work which helps them to take care of their families. This Thanksgiving, set
the table for your family with items that help families all over the world.
As guests are arriving to your Thanksgiving dinner, greet them with a charcuterie board filled with various delicious appetizers. HGTV suggests using a “larger tray to create a big cheese board for some pre-dinner snacking.”
An assortment of apples, pumpkins or gourds makes for an easy Thanksgiving themed centerpiece for your dinner table. Best Products says “tiny pumpkins are without a doubt, the perfect place setting for your Thanksgiving table. If a trip to the pumpkin patch isn’t in the cards for you this year, faux pumpkins (that you can reuse year after year!) will do in a pinch.” Just place them in a bowl or basket, and voilà, you’re done!
The Main Course
Now it’s time to serve the turkey and all the delicious side dishes! HGTV says that a “matching serving dish set is perfect for your turkey and smaller side dishes.”
Skip the pumpkin pie this year and try something different for dessert! Jillian Harris says that a “cake stand is the perfect way to showcase your baking skills when you have guests over.” She suggests stacking one with “cupcakes, delicious pastries or an indulgent cake.”
Do you have any Thanksgiving table decorating tips? Let us
know how you decorate your table for Thanksgiving in the comments below!
are not your typical retailer. We are a non-profit, social enterprise following
the basic principles of fair trade. One of the key principles of fair trade is micro-financing.
many of the communities that we work with, banking services are scarce and
interest rates are excessively high. These financial barriers prevent maker
groups from taking out loans to purchase materials they need to make their products.
In an effort to reduce these financial blocks for makers and their families, we
pay 50% of our invoice when we submit an order. We then pay the remaining 50% when
we receive confirmation that the products have shipped. At times, this means
that we could pay for products that we won’t actually sell for 6-12 months.
However, this process relieves the financial burden for makers and their
families, giving them the freedom to purchase materials they need to create
their products, and in turn, allowing them to continue earning a fair wage for
“I am sincerely grateful toward Ten
Thousand Villages Canada. The orders they send us allow us to provide for
all that being said, we are proud and excited to introduce Giving Change. We
developed the Giving Change program so we could continue to offer this interest-free
micro-financing program to the groups we work with. Your donations will support
our efforts to bridge the monetary gap between production and sale, and empower
makers around the world, like Ahmed, through micro-financing.
you for supporting our Giving Change program, our mission and our commitment to
socially conscious retail. We believe that all people deserve to earn a fair
and stable income – and we couldn’t do it without the support of our valued
To make a contribution to Giving Change, please visit our website.
Happy first day of fall! Here at Ten Thousand Villages, we’re
a little sad that summer days are over but we’re excited for all the fall
things that autumn brings like pumpkin spice lattes, sweater weather and scary
movies. With Thanksgiving dinners and Halloween parties approaching, fall is also
a great time to refresh your home! Here are some tips for giving your home a cozy,
Baskets are great because not only do they add a rustic, fall touch to your living room but they double as storage space too. Elle Décor suggests warming up a room with “cozy accessories such as pillow-and-throw-filled baskets.”
Keep your feet warm on hardwood floors and add a decorative touch to your kitchen or family room with a rug. House and Home says that a standout rug is like “artwork for your floor.” They believe that a standout rug “pulls the room together, interjecting life and personality into the space.”
Add warmth and decoration to your living room or bedroom with a fringe throw, blanket or quilt. Country Living encourages homeowners to “find throws with different textures and colours for a bit of visual variety.”
This fall, trade colourful summer flowers in for a statement plant. House and Home says a statement plant “creates major impact – especially when potted in a standout planter.”
Candles are an easy way to add those fall vibes to your home. Shutterfly says that candles give homes “rustic charm.” For Halloween, add pumpkins and pinecones to your candle display.
Do you have
any fall decorating tips? Let us know how you decorate your home for fall in
the comments below!
Jewellery-making has been an important tradition of the Tuareg
nomads for centuries. In 1993, a group of young people in Terhazer, a village
near Agadez, the largest city of northern Niger, began crafting leather
products and silver jewellery by hand. After travelling through France and
selling their handicrafts from backpacks for several years, Illies Mouhmoud and
his friends began The Union of Peasants (UPAP) in 1999 to help artisans and rural
Today, UPAP is an organization of 170 skilled Tuareg silver
jewellers and leatherworkers. The Tuareg people inhabit the Saharan regions of
North Africa, such as Niger, Mali, Libya, Algeria and Burkina Faso. Dressed in
blue robes, they sit beneath airy tents in the desert and create breathtaking
pieces of art using a lost-wax method with the same simple tools and techniques
of their ancestors. Sometimes, Tuareg people are called the “blue
people” because their traditional coloured clothing stains their skin. Tuareg
artisans use income from craft production to supplement their subsistence
farming. This income has enabled villages to build and equip schools, pay for
medicine, ensure safer births and build wells.
Illies Mouhmoud is a master silver artisan in crafting traditional
Tuareg jewelry. Using a lost-wax method to cast the silver, Mouhmoud first
creates a wax mold, forms clay around the mold and then pours molten silver
into the hardened clay. Using hand tools, he etches traditional designs and
adds ebony inlay or jewels to create the finished piece.
Traditionally, the etchings represented safe trade routes. Similar to a
map, the open spaces represented a ‘no go’ zone while the etchings were the
routes. Today, the traditional techniques are used for artistic purposes and
of Tuareg jewellery is believed to bring good luck.
Thankful for their customers, Mouhmoud said, “Your purchases have helped us stay in our homes, to stay where we live, where we were born and where our parents and grandparents were born.” Visit our website to browse our entire collection of beautiful Tuareg jewellery.
Did you know that there are 10 principles essential to fair trade? According to the The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), “the 10 Principles of Fair Trade specify the ways that Fair Trade Enterprises are set up and behave to ensure they put people and the planet first.” At Ten Thousand Villages, we are trying to make the world a better place. Here are the ten principles that help us do just that:
Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
We create opportunities for makers in developing countries to earn
income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term,
fair trading relationships.
Transparency and accountability
We always deal fairly and respectfully with our trading partners, and we strive to remain transparent with our customers. Check out this blog post for a behind the scenes look.
By providing consistent orders, the makers we work with can establish
Promoting Fair Trade
Whether it’s in one of our stores or online, we are eager to provide
customers with the stories behind our products.
Payment of a fair price
Every purchase improves the lives
of makers and their families by supporting their craft and providing a fair,
We work with maker groups all over the world that empower women. Visit this blog post to learn more about some of the amazing women we work with, and the groups that are working towards women’s equality on a daily basis.
The makers we work with benefit
from working in a safe and healthy environment.
Fair Trade Organizations respect the UN Convention on the Rights of the
Many of the organizations we work with use environmentally-friendly production materials and methods. Check out this blog post to learn more about one of these groups.
Every design at Ten Thousand
Villages is handcrafted by makers we have known and worked with for years.
When you make a purchase from Ten Thousand Villages, you become part of something more than just retail; you are part of the solution to creating a FAIR world. Visit this blog post to learn about how your purchase makes a difference.
On August 26, 1920, women were finally given the right to vote in the United States. In Canada, women were given the right to vote in 1921. Today, women’s equality is still about that, but it also encompasses even more aspects. To start, it’s about providing women all over the world with equal opportunities to education and employment, and eliminating discrimination, stereotypes and violence against women.
Since the beginning, Ten Thousand Villages has been empowering women. In 1946, our founder, Edna Ruth Byler, a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) worker, visited volunteers in Puerto Rico who were teaching sewing classes to help improve the lives of women living in poverty. When she came back to North America, she filled her car with embroidery pieces she had purchased from these women at a fair price and sold them at churches, parties and sewing circles. The concept of fair trade – and Ten Thousand Villages – was born.
We are proud to work with maker groups all over the world that empower women. This year, to celebrate Women’s Equality Day 2019, we want to highlight a few of the groups we work with that are working towards women’s equality on a daily basis.
St. Mary’s Mahila Shikshan
500 women in India work with St. Mary’s creating embroidery designs using locally produced thread and hand-loomed cotton. These female makers have access to medical care, savings plans, sewing education, cooking classes and scholarships for their children. Each year, the organization celebrates women’s equality.
Alpa Mistri does embroidery for St. Mary’s. She is 38 years
old and has been working with the organization for two years. When asked about
the impact St. Mary’s has had on her life, she said, “Working in this
organization has given me an identity. As a single mother, I can stand on my
own two feet and look after my children without the support of a husband. I am
working towards giving my children an education. I want my daughter to become a
Corr – The Jute Works
Corr – The Jute Works markets handmade items, primarily jute and terracotta products, created by Bangladeshi women regardless of caste, religion or race. They work with 4,000 makers and focus on job training, literacy and health issues, developing leadership skills and generating awareness of women’s rights.
Sonia Begum crafts terracotta pots with Corr – The Jute
Works. She is 24 years old and has been working with the organization for one
year. When asked what the biggest change has been since working with Corr – The
Jute Works, she said, “I am getting a fair wage for my work. I am independent
and my voice is heard. Because of fair trade, rural women in Bangladesh have
rights. I feel empowered.”
Sapia works with 80 makers in Colombia creating beautiful products with unique materials like orange peel, tagua and corn husk.
Magdaly Figeroa Rincón is one of the satellite shop leaders
working at Sapia. She is 38 years old and has been working with Sapia for five
years. She makes all kinds of pieces of jewellery and orange peel dolls. When
asked how her life has changed since working with Sapia, she said, “Fair trade
allows me to be independent and generate my own income. I can work from home
and still dedicate time to my family. I can improve my family’s standard of living
and I can also support other women by bringing them work.”
Saidpur Enterprises provides work for women in Bangladesh. In addition to a fair wage, makers are given microloans, financial advice, literacy classes and training sessions in women’s legal rights, business and nutrition. Each year, the organization celebrates women’s equality.
Fatema SL sews bags at Saidpur Enterprises. She is 50 years
old and has been working with the organization since 1991. When asked how her
life has changed since working with Saidpur Enterprises, she said, “Before Saidpur
Enterprises, my husband did not make enough to provide for the family and there
were many days where we did not eat. Since working here, I have been able to
provide food for our children and send them to school. I also have been able to
buy a piece of land to build a house. I get paid regularly and work in an
environment with no discrimination.”
When you buy a product from Ten Thousand Villages, your
purchase helps empower women around the world. Your purchase:
Provides women with equal opportunities to
Gives women a voice and the ability to be