Furever Gifts

For many, the joy of giving can be marred with the realization that gift-giving itself is a dressed up episode of consumerism. But what if you want to actually be charitable this season and buy your gift conscientiously? A number of Saigon charities and organizations sell gifts that directly benefit important causes, like womens’ economic empowerment and animal welfare. We’re collected a few of them below.

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If you’re looking to do more than just buy a thing in your gift giving, consider buying something from animal shelter ARC Vietnam (Animal Rescue & Care). The animal shelter offers mugs and bandanas whose purchase benefits the dogs, cats and other creatures in their care. Their showcase item, however, is the ARC Vietnam calendar (VND200,000; sold at Saigon Pet Clinic (33 Street 41, D2), Saiga’s House (23 Street N4 – KDC Hoan Cau, D7) and Kokois (24 Thao Dien, D2), which takes you through 2019 with photos of their cute wards. A hard copy calendar can be an important tool to help you visualize your month and see where your time is going. A calendar with a lot of cute things is, well is never unwelcomed.

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Among the items available through 

Bright Solutions Vietnam’s (www.facebook.com/brightsolutionsvietnam) textile product lineup is a fabric ABCs book, finger puppets and cloth Christmas decorations. There’s a distinct style to Brights Solutions’ work that can be described as playful, soft in the emotional sense as well as the physical. The tone belies the serious work of Brights Solutions’ organizational objectives. The company retails cloth goods made by underprivileged Vietnamese women. The women Bright Solutions serves come from a range of backgrounds and life experiences including domestic violence and social marginalization, but what binds them all together in common is a lack of opportunity and economic empowerment. Bright Solutions acts as not only a vendor for these women, but also as a vocational training organization and an entry point for their products to join an international market. To ensure quality, vendors receive training and coaching from the company to both produce well-made products and build the life skills necessary to enhance their standard of living.

“We consider equipping women of all ages with life skills and relational skills just as important as providing them with access to a self-supporting trade and sustainable income,” Fiona Briers, founder and director, said in a statement. Bright Solutions is a partner in the United Nations gender equality and poverty reduction goals. It’s nearly time to don the holiday dress and put up those decorations. Among Bright Solutions’ soft selection are Christmas ornaments. If you feel inclined to deck the proverbial halls this season, this is a great way to go.

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Need more ideas?

Coffee seller Maison Du Saigon (www.facebook.com/maisondusaigon) has a range of products including mugs and coasters that benefit their sustainability initiatives. The company partners with local makers and is an important access point for Vietnamese artisans to sell their goods in Canada.

Sweets maker Little Rose Bakery (www.facebook.com/littlerosebakery) has cookies and cakes for celebrating the holiday season. The bakery is a business that supports the Little Rose orphanage as well as local schools served from the organization.

Mekong Creations (www.facebook.com/MekongCreations) is one of Vietnam’s best-known NGO of handcrafted goods. It’s a great place to find something unique including a handmade denim tote bag or one of the store’s coveted quilts. Money spent there goes toward social welfare programs that aim to strengthen the presence of local artisans in the international market.

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