Gifts that give back
Spread the Joy this holiday season
Here it comes again: the season of gift-giving. If you're still pondering about what to get for your loved ones after the rough, challenging year we've all been through, consider the options available from these social enterprises. You will see that the items they offer are not only useful, but also helpful to those in need. Purchases will really make a big difference in providing care for animals, education for children, medical treatments for the sick, aid for the underprivileged and employment for members in our society with physical impairments. Here's a list of places to check out to make this year's gift-giving your most meaningful one yet.
Help support underprivileged youth to break free from the chains of poverty by buying from Yuvabadhana Foundation's latest collection of lifestyle goods. Named "Give The Future", the collection features colourful tote bags (B350), T-shirts (B199), note pads (B120) and wish cards (B20). All proceeds from the sales of these products will go towards funding education for indigent students throughout the country.
Yuvabadhana Foundation also runs Pankan Store, a sustainable social enterprise that lets you donate reusable items such as shoes, bags, clothes, jewellery, home decorations, furniture and books. The donated items will be distributed to various Pankan branches to be sold, with all proceeds directed towards scholarship funding.
(Photos: Yuvabadhana Foundation)
Pankan Stores can be found throughout Bangkok. Call 02-301-1096 or 081-903-6639. Visit www.yuvabadhanafoundation.org/th/products or pankansociety.com/en/howto/what-to-donate.
Pakjit Pakjai Project by Thailand Association of the Blind
What happens when an ancient Japanese stitching style (called sashiko) and noble intentions come together? The result would look something like the training programme created by Pakjit Pakjai. This project helps visually impaired members of society learn how to stitch using the aforementioned stitching style and also helps them to monetise their new skill. In turn, this builds their self-confidence and independence. The stitching style is quite interesting because it has its roots in a bygone Japanese era, during which wives would stitch their families' clothing at night-time under dim lantern lights.
A wide variety of products are now available from this project and those who stitch the pieces are paid for every item that they help to produce. The people behind the project are proud to say that the participants are paid without fail on the 15th of every month. You can get a uniquely created product (tote bags, pouches and scarves, to name a few) and also support this wonderful endeavour by visiting their FB page and purchasing an item.
Skip the mainstream travel and dining deal websites and check out Socialgiver instead. You can get a wide range of deals here that are as good as, or better than, the ones you can find on more well-known deal websites. The feature that sets Socialgiver apart from its giant competitors, is that it uses half the proceeds it receives to support social causes across the country. Examples include the Thailand Recovery Fund, which helps people who have been severely impacted by the pandemic and the Teach For Thailand Foundation, which provides students with one semester of good quality education.
One of Socialgiver's latest deals is for the Thailand Museum Pass. With just this one pass, you can get access to 68 museums across Thailand for a price of B299. You can also find great dining deals that can be enjoyed at popular restaurants across Bangkok, such as Roast, La Monita Taqueria and il Fumo.
Steps with Theera
This Christmas, touch the hearts of those you love with a Christmas treat box that is fully packed with handmade sweets made by the hands of young adults with special educational needs. With your purchase, you're helping to support Steps With Theera (an organisation that runs four vocational training centres/cafes in Bangkok and Phuket) in its mission to create a more diverse and inclusive community. While the delicious treats can easily hold their own, their delectable taste is really just a bonus compared to the real treat they help to provide, which is a kinder society.
Pick your favourites from a range of festive treats on offer. They include the mini gingerbread house (B50), mince pies (B330/4 pieces) and Christmas cake pops (B40). Vegan folks can opt for vegan fruit cakes (B80) or decorated Christmas cut-out cookies that come in various shapes, such as Santa, reindeer, Christmas tree and festive red hat, all being sold at B60 each. Everything can be ordered online via the website of Theera: The Original Healthy Bake Room, at least two days in advance.
(Photos: Steps with Theera)
Art House Ekachai Wannakaew
Calendars and planners are very sensible gifts over the year-end holidays. Rather than picking up yours from a popular bookstore in a mall, get it from Ekachai Wannakaew instead. The motivational speaker/artist has launched a calendar and a notebook filled with inspirational quotes and his oil paintings depicting the 12 zodiacs. The unique feature of all the drawings is that they have been painted by Ekachai using his toe. The notebook is priced at B359, while the calendar is B259. You can get a bundle of both at a special price of B590. Proceeds will go to Art House Ekachai Wannakaew for the Underprivileged.
(Photos: Art House Ekachai Wannakaew)
Visit www.ekachai-lifeunlimited.com, fb.com/ArtHouseEkachaiWannakaew.
With more than 76 different products on offer, Rama Give Shop makes for a great online collection of charitable gifts. The products here are either designed and handcrafted by renowned artists or made in collaboration with popular brands like Snoopy. Examples include a collection that has been dreamed up by Asava, priced at B699, featuring a canvas bag, a bucket hat and a mask. Snoopy fans can enjoy sourcing through a range of products that feature Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang, from sweatshirts (B550) to colourful lunch boxes (B309).
Each purchase gives vital donations to support underprivileged patients in receiving medical treatments.
(Photos: Ramathibodi Foundation)
Visit www.ramafoundation.or.th/products or fb.com/RamaGiveShop.
Hong Dai Boon by Thai Red Cross Society
Like many of us, you might know you need to buy a gift, but not have a clue what it should be or where to start looking. Why not get a unique gift while accumulating some merit for performing a good deed, at Hong Dai Boon (which means "getting a merit" in Thai)? Among the items that are generously donated to the Thai Red Cross Society, there is a portion which is difficult to give away. Examples that fall under this category include jewellery, home decoration and certain types of clothing. So the Thai Red Cross Society puts these items up for sale instead and uses the proceeds to bolster its efforts, like disaster relief and medical support for those in dire need of it. Don't be surprised if you get a really good deal on something which didn't occur to you as a gift idea.
(Photo: Thai Red Cross Society)
The Red Cross Fundraising, Rama IV Road / Call 02-256-4622, visit fb.com/HongDaiBoon, www.redcrossfundraising.org.
The White Elephant Store
If you find your house and your closet cluttered and full of stuff you do not really use, grab the items that are in good condition and head to The White Elephant store in Nonthaburi. Once you drop off your stuff, take a stroll through the store, where you can find pretty much everything from home appliances to even tiaras. The store is manned by a group of volunteers and proceeds from the sale of the goods here will go towards the running of the store and supporting a multitude of worthy causes. They include providing equipment for schools and hospitals in remote areas.
(Photos: The White Elephant Store)
The White Elephant Store, Samakkee Road, Nonthaburi / Call 089-525-0290, visit bit.ly/39t7jM6.
SOS Children's Villages Thailand
SOS Children's Villages Thailand is an organisation that provides homes for kids who have lost their parents and have no other family. The children under their care will also be given an education, getting them ready to begin their careers when they leave their caretakers' homes upon reaching working age. To support its mission, you can donate to SOS Children's Villages Thailand directly or purchase a holiday gift from their website. They have a wide array of products, including tote bags, dolls, towels and even pillows. Special New Year gift sets are also available now. The stationery set costs B199, while a set of two matching T-shirts is sold at B399. Get a tax rebate on purchases.
Visit www.sosthailand.org and bit.ly/2Xpt7j6.
Home for Handicapped Animals Foundation
Who doesn't want a T-shirt with cute dogs on it? Get that and more gift-worthy merchandise at Home for Handicapped Animals Foundation's website. The foundation saves handicapped animals from the streets and gives them a home. By purchasing their products, you're helping to provide food and medical care for our cuddly friends in the home.