Help start a business and kick-start an economy!

By staff writers
26 May 2009

Giving a special charity gift is a great way to celebrate a friend or loved one's birthday or anniversary, Christmas or Valentine’s Day – and show that you really care (in more ways that one) without giving unwanted clutter.

The best charity gifts help develop the independence and sustainability of struggling economies. In the hands of local people, a small business can be a powerful weapon in the fight against poverty. The benefits of a sustainable business concern extend to the whole community, encouraging other businesses and eventually creating a local economy. The overall effect is that whole countries are lifted out of poverty as the wealth is spread around.

Community Shop

CAFOD work with and support some of the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world, regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality. Through their ‘Gifts that Make a Difference' program, you could give a community the charity gift of a shop for £1500.

The charity gift of a shop does so many jobs for a community that its value can hardly be reckoned. It provides a market for locally produced foods, management and business training, and vital financial and marketing skills.

Visit CAFOD – World Gifts here

In addition to training, the community shop charity gift acts as a seed collection and storage facility; excess food can also be stored there so that it is not wasted, providing for times of shortage. It supports livelihoods, encourages an enterprising spirit, and enables a community to be self-supporting and to sustain itself through the hard times. The gift of a shop really does offer a brighter future to the whole community.

The COMAL network is a group of over 200 shops supported by CAFOD in Honduras. Constantino Martinez was struggling to get by on a labourer’s wage before receiving a cheap loan from COMAL. He now runs a small farm and sells his produce at the local shop.

Speaking about how COMAL has helped him he said, ‘COMAL gives us loans and we pay them back in grain. They sell our products in their shops.’

Give a market stall

Oxfam’s charity gift scheme, Oxfam Unwrapped, run this more affordable charity gift. For only £48 pounds you can pay for a market trader to receive business training and support. This will enable them to run a more profitable business by helping them capitalise on their strengths.

Like the CAFOD gift, this charity gift also provides access to cheap loans so that business can get off to a good start. Arulampalam Nagenthiran, a baker from Sri Lanka, recently received this charity gift: “After the tsunami, I restarted my baking business with an Oxfam loan. I bought all the ingredients I needed to get going again.”

Visit Oxfam – Unwrapped here

If the community shop or market stall charity gifts aren’t for you, the range of charity gifts on offer is wide. But whatever gift you choose, you can be sure that your charity gift is really making a practical difference to lives of poor people.

It is very quick and easy to buy a charity gift. All you do is visit the web site, pick a charity gift that suits your needs, and then choose a card with a personal message to send to your loved one on whose behalf you are buying the charity gift.

Other sites you can give similar charity gifts:

Visit Christian Aid – Present Aid here

Visit World Vision – Must Have Gifts here

Oxfam – Unwrapped

Practical Action – Gifts in Action

CAFOD – World Gifts

Action Aid – Gifts in Action

UNICEF – Inspired Gifts

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