Refugee-made Holiday Shopping Guide

tembowThere are plenty of last minute holiday shopping opportunities that will also help refugees earn more than minimum wage in jobs that offer dignity, training opportunities and supportive work environments.

All of the projects or businesses in this list are social enterprises inspired by refugees to offer them opportunities for dignified, meaningful work!

Prosperity Candle – refugee women help select the scents and make the gorgeous candles in collaboration with their artisan colleagues in Iraq.  Read more in a previous Higher blog post.

Beautiful Day Granola – Tastes great.  Employs refugees.  Did we mention tastes great?  Their new Rosemary Sage flavor is our favorite.

Worn for Peace – this project started by a Catholic Charities Fort Worth volunteer empowers women by providing them with the materials to make woven accessories at home.

Tembo Group – new to our collection, Tembo has a Baltimore retail store and hires refugees to make all kinds of cool gifts.  They’re currently exhibiting paintings in our lobby art gallery, where we took the photos included in this post.  tembo

Refugee Sewing Society – a project of Friends of Refugees in Clarkston, GA and also new to us.  Check out their cute, handmade Nomi Dolls at their etsy store.

The Open Arms Shop – this thriving social enterprise and project of Austin’s Multicultural Refugee Coalition has changed their business model to focus on contract manufacturing.  Recently, you could buy their special capsule collection at select Ikea stores in Texas.

At least 50% of small business start-ups in the U.S. don’t make it.  When updating our list of social enterprises that employ refugees, we discovered that several of our favorites (Billboard Bags, A Woven Thread) are no longer operational.


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  1. Suzan Bartee says:

    Better Life Bags (BLB) in Detroit —
    employs workers with barriers to employment including refugees/asylees

    Great custom holiday gifts, great idea!

  2. Carrie Thiele says:

    ECDC/African Community Center’s “We Made This” refugee sewing program provides another great source for one-of-a-kind holiday gifts!

    “We Made This” is a self-sustainable Denver-based sewing initiative, providing sewing training and economic opportunity to refugees while impacting the local manufacturing industry and building a stronger economy. We Made This strives to unlock the courage and creativity of refugee women through a multicultural sewing community. This program activates leadership and builds partnerships to help refugee women integrate into the local community. We Made This also enables refugee women to earn supplemental income through the sale of their products.

  3. Lorel Donaghey says:

    Higher also heard from PJ Moore with World Relief in Memphis about another social enterprise – Thanks PJ.

    Good afternoon!

    I hope all is well and everyone has recovered from lasts month’s conference! In Memphis, we are beginning to implement some of the strategies covered by Alan Anderson and others at the event so we will see how things progress into the new year.

    I just looked over the post below and all these items seem really great! I want to share with you some really beautiful work that some refugee women do here in Memphis. Please share with your network and add it to the list for future posts on this topic!

    The link is below and I have CC’d Sarah Brubaker to this message who would be happy to answer any questions you may have about Ekata Designs.

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