Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Gift Ideas for Expats (2): Giftware with a Conscience

Christmas gifts with a conscience? Yes, if you support British expat Figen Cakir's project. Figen, who lives in Turkey, has set up a project aimed at developing local skills and ultimately selling items that have been made by local women, artisans and craftspeople. All so that they can support their families and rebuild their lives after a disastrous earthquake hit her community over a decade ago.

Figen at London crafts show showing
Turkish wares
Figen is a great example of an expat helping their local community - making their 'host' country their home and contributing to it in a big way. Figen personally helps local women with the development of their crafts and arts and ensures that the products are sourced from local or natural materials. She wants to expand the support through this 'Giftware with a Conscience' project which will help set up a small shop to develop skills and turn unique skills into unique arts and crafts. Figen explains that it is not about giving the local people charity,

"The aim is to give them a sense of enterprise."

A website offering international shipping will accompany the shop. All donators will be added to the mailing list and will receive shop discounts, updates, special offers and details of monthly or bi-monthly initiatives to help the local community - things like helping a family with clothing for their children, school books, baby items or things to help get them through the winter.

Turkish oya
VIP perks for funders include hand knitted Turkish slippers for toasty feet on cold winter days, decorative plates, hand painted gift tags, Turkish tile ware and pure Turkish cotton towels.

Cini Tilework

*CHRISTMAS TIP* - I would like to share a great idea with you that I got from Jo Parfitt. Jo sends a Christmas newsletter out instead of sending Christmas cards. The money she would have spent on cards and stamps she donates to charity. A great idea! If this appeals to you, and you like the idea of Figen's project consider donating the money you save on cards and postage to 'Giftware with a Conscience'. 

Alternatively, put this project on your own Christmas wish list so that your friends and family donate on your behalf. 

So many ways to give gifts this year with a conscience.

I will leave the last word to Figen, who sums up what this means to her, and to her community.

"I would like to express my desire to see this project come to life in the new year and finally create a 'home' for the work of artisans and craftspeople. That would be my Christmas wish, I guess." 

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