As Valentine’s Day creeps closer, lovers, couples, friends, and spouses begin searching for the perfect gift to convey how much they care for their significant other. My advice for the gentlemen, or other jewelry-seeker, is to think out of the box, and possibly out of the jewelry store.
Gold has become the most profitable mineral for armed groups operating in the Congo. The violence in the Congo has taken more lives than World World II – over 50 million – and has officially made the Congo the most unsafe place in the world to be a woman. Since the SEC has yet to come up with a way to determine what gold is “conflict gold”, the only way to be sure you are not supporting armed militias in the Congo is simply to not buy any gold. And since chocolate is produced by child slaves, anyone looking to spend their dollars justly and not give their loved one a potentially blood-stained gift would appear to be at a loss.
Fortunately, for those seeking to promote love in all aspects of their gift-giving, there are some wonderful options. My favorite choice is the Given “With All My Heart” gift set. 30% of the proceeds from the purchase go to World Vision programs that benefit women and girls around the world. The gift set includes a cotton/polyester blend tagless shirt in the comfortable burnout style, with a beautiful heart design on the front.
The set also comes with a Tagua Nut heart necklace. Tagua Nuts are known as the ‘vegetable Ivory” because of their ivory-like color and texture. The Tagua Nuts used for making these necklaces were harvested in Ecuador through an economic incentive program designed to promote sustainable harvesting. The villagers harvest the Nuts from the forest floor and then they are dyed red using vegetable dyes.
The set comes in a red gift box with a gift card that shares the same heart design as the shirt, and contains a quote from World Vision president Rich Stearns, “In my opinion, the single most important thing that can be done to cure extreme poverty is this: protect, educate, and nurture girls and women, and provide them with equal rights and opportunities – educationally, economically, and socially.” Each item in the gift set is available separately, and 30% of those purchases also go to World Vision’s programs from women and girls.
This Valentines Day, show your love not only for your significant other, but also for the people of the world who are less fortunate than ourselves. Let your gift of love resonate all the way back to the people who made it.
For other gift-giving ideas, see my Christmas gift-giving guide, Give Something More Than Stuff.