(Family Features) This year has been tough for many. Despite the challenges, acts of compassion and generosity can bring together the global community. With this holiday season different than those before, it is important to remember the world’s shared humanity and help make the season brighter.
For those who will be celebrating this season and are looking for gifts that give back, UNICEF Market offers an online collection of handcrafted gifts made by artisans from around the world. Supporting these small businesses helps both the artisans – many of whom are dealing with economic hardship because of the pandemic – and the lifesaving mission of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The platform brings business to artists like Mirian Otzin from Central America, who began weaving using Mayan techniques with her mother as a hobby at the age of 8. Otzin worked for a female weavers organization for 16 years before becoming an entrepreneur.
“This is something I'm grateful to UNICEF Market for because for me and many artists like me, this is our only source of income,” she said. “Thanks to its system and the space it’s opened up for artisan women like me, we still have hope that we can overcome this pandemic. During these hardships, we’re still crafting in our home-based workshops, making sure we’re following all the health protocols set by our health departments and the platform’s rules that we must follow to keep everyone safe.”
Featuring an array of woven goods, Otzin’s profile includes table linens, cushion covers and bags. In addition to Otzin, more than 2,000 artisans are empowered on the platform. These entrepreneurs share their talents, selling their handcrafted items for homes and gardens, jewelry and more, such as reclaimed stone flowerpots and onyx and marble chess sets from Mexico, teakwood cutting boards from Thailand, silk tapestries from Ghana and knit blankets from India.
A portion of gifts’ proceeds also help fund lifesaving programs such as nutrition, sanitation, education and more in the more than 190 countries where UNICEF works. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the organization’s 13,000 staffers have reached 250 million children with distance-based learning and 2.88 billion people with virus prevention information, as well as delivering more than 234 million units of personal protective equipment, hospital equipment and diagnostic tests to frontline workers globally. As the largest vaccine buyer in the world, the organization is set to lead the procurement and supply of COVID-19 vaccines in the world’s biggest and fastest operation of its kind.
Share the best of this season by visiting unicefusa.org/ShopSmall2020.