“Living Gifts”: The Ten Thousand Villages Program That Keeps On Giving

By Nick Krewen 11/15/11 | www.samaritanmag.com

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If you find yourself in the charitable spirit during the holidays, you can give the gift of sustainability.

From now until the end of the year, Ten Thousand Villages — the oldest and largest Fair Trade organization in North America with an online presence atwww.TenThousandVillages.ca and a 48-store network throughout the continent — has a number of beneficiaries that will stretch your dollar should you choose to purchase a gift or donate.

For example, a $40 gift will buy four bags of cement that will be used to construct a sand dam in Tanzania, helping to provide clean and accessible water for local communities.

A $25 gift of empowerment will provide soap-making training for former Bangladesh sex workers, and an additional $6 will provide the natural oil and fresh herb soap materials.

Feeling especially generous? For $350, you can provide a “farmyard” that includes the gift of small livestock and training for Kenya families, while a single goat costs $35.

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You can even “pair” gifts: While $300 will buy an education for an impoverished child, another $8 will give them a handmade paper journal from India.

Celebrating its 65th anniversary, Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit program of the Mennonite Central Committee first founded in 1946 by Edna Ruth Byler.

A member of the World Fair Trade Organization, a coalition of handicraft and agricultural producers, Ten Thousand Villages has raised over $5 million in donations since pairing with the Mennonite Central Committee in 2003.

These “commerce with a conscience” items can be purchased by individuals, groups or corporations, and tax receipts are available.

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* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.