A book can change your life. Sometimes in big, glaring ways, other times in small, subtle, even indecipherable ways, but you know it’s been changed all the same. I just finished reading a book called “A Thousand Sisters” by Lisa Shannon, which shares heartbreaking stories of the war ravaged lives of women in the Congo. The women feel their lives are over, but for a humanitarian organization called Women for Women International. This organization trains women to weave textiles, bake bread, breed chickens and learn other trades that will help them become self sufficient and therefore rebuild their shattered lives. I got to thinking about Africa in a whole new way, and the idea got me searching for websites that allow me to help these and other African women whilst I get my fix of retail therapy. The extent of gorgeous textiles for sale by these indigenous women’s cooperatives truly made my head spin, and I realized a small change in the way I shop can make for a big change in the lives of poverty stricken women in sub-Saharan Africa.
My favorite do-good websites:
Proudmary.org – I’m loving the whimsicality of the tie-dyed and polka dotted scarves whipped up by a women’s cooperative in Mali.
Shopafia.com – These gorgeous, West African textiles are woven into modern silhouettes, the purchase of which supports economic stability for women in Ghana.
Edun.com – My sister recommended this site famously owned by U2s Bono and his wife Ali Hewson. The eco-conscious company supports fair-trade initiatives in Africa, and while the clothes are a bit pricey, you can feel good knowing your money is going to a good cause.
Want to do more? Check out womenforwomen.org and support a sister, allowing her to gain the skills to start a business of her own.