Who knew buying a cake or bicycle can help marginalised communities?
These Singapore social enterprises are not your average retailers. Find out how your small purchases can go a long way to help the disadvantaged.
Acting as a marketplace for rural and underprivileged artisans around the world (from Thailand, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Africa, Peru, and even Singapore), this platform hopes to sustain their livelihood through the sale of the lovely handmade items. We love how the website catergorises the social causes you can choose to support with your purchases.
2. Purnama Outreach
Aiming to provide job creation in developing countries and charitable contributions to education for orphans, Purnama is currently helming the Weaving Project in Nepal, Upcyling Project in Indonesia, and the Fight For Education Program in neighbouring countries. Find out more about them and their progress here.
Inspired to help? You can shop for a wide range of handmade bags, accessories and other special artisan items to support these programmes.
3. Ugly Cake Shop
The next time you're throwing a birthday party, consider getting these artisanal cakes that will help to feed undernourished children in Timor-Leste. Twenty percent of proceeds are channelled directly to a school in Dili, and the money is used to supplement the school's nutritional fund, which is used to buy eggs and other important sources of protein for the kids.
Bakes from Ugly Cake Shop are free from artificial colouring and flavours, fondant (they use buttercream instead for a better balance of flavours), and gum paste. They also have a delicious chocolate cake that's made without eggs, dairy or nuts.
4. TeddyThotz 'n' OneKind
Merging creativity and social enterprise, TeddyThotz produces quirky little teddy bears (pictured) and other crochet animals, and practical everyday items such as traditional patchwork blankets and coasters. Their beneficiaries include lower income families and elderly in Singapore as well as lower income families, elderly, single mothers, womenfolk and farmers in Thailand. We just love how cheery and colourful all their handmade items are, and they are sure to brighten up your day.
5. Creed Cycle
More than selling bicycles and cycling related accessories, the people behind Creed Cycle believe in contributing to a social cause too. Through the One4One programme, a bicycle will donated to a third-world or developing country with every bicycle sold. This helps economically and socially disadvantaged families and individuals there have a means of transport.
And hey, you will also be doing your part for the environment by choosing to cycle to commute.
6. GAT (Gift and Take)
With gifts ranging from unique patchwork soft toys, stationary, home and lifestyle products, and customised corporate gifts, GAT's gift makers include those in Singapore and as well as overseas, including landmine and post-polio survivors in Cambodia and disadvantaged women in impoverished villages.
Check out their Simply Singapore collection featuring small items (tissue holder, coin purse, etc) with the Singapore flag on it. They also have lovely batik-themed gifts (pictured).
7. The Village Source
Working directly with villages and authorised non-governmental organisations, the Village Source offers ethically-traded handmade crafts to provide marginalised individuals with a sustainable income, including women who were rescued from human trafficking, and unemployed leprosy survivors.
Their website clearly states the origin of each product and how they are made as you shop for handmade soaps, ethnic tribal-coloured coasters (pictured), and trivets. We are especially smitten by their beautiful journals.
By Muneerah Bee, June 2016