We’re very excited to share news of a new baby we’re supporting, Sandrine, in Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso is an extremely poor country; at 53 years life expectancy is very low. 770,000 children in Burkina Faso are growing up without parental care, thousands being orphaned by AIDS. HIV & AIDS exacerbates child labour – as households lose adult members, family income declines so children have to contribute financially. This in turn impacts education, only a quarter of the population knows how to read and write.
Creating change in this overwhelming context, SOS Children has been working in Burkina Faso since the 1990s. In March 2012 Sandrine moved in to the SOS Children’s village in Dafra, a suburb of Burkina Faso’s second largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso, where 12 SOS families provide a loving home for around 120 children.
The children attend the SOS nursery school together with children from the neighbourhood, ensuring they are integrated in to the local community. They go on to complete their education at the SOS primary and secondary school, which is attended by 900 children, making it an important educational institution in the region. The village has a social centre that provides health services, counseling and care for families affected by HIV/AIDS.
Sandrine’s SOS Mother has written to tell us a little about her: she’s a lively girl, very curious and eager to explore. Sandrine has elder SOS siblings, whom she is very observant of so she can imitate what they do. They say that you rarely see Sandrine walk as she prefers to run all the time!
This time of year feels extra special to meet Sandrine and know that we are helping her SOS Mother, and the whole SOS Children team, give her a fair start in life. Wishing you a very happy Christmas little Sandrine!
It’s a wonderful thing that fairtrade chocolate is well known and widely available. My favourite chocolate company with social and environmental aims is Rococo Chocolates. A delicious treat, much of their cocoa is organic, and the story of their “Grococo” chocolate is perfect for my #BuySocial Christmas Challenge.
Rococo has a joint venture with the Grenada Chocolate Company, a small, solar-powered tree-to-bar maker. When Hurricane Emily devastated Grenada’s cocoa crop in 2005; Rococo made a special edition bar in aid of the Grenada Relief Fund. Now they work together to produce fairly traded, ethical chocolate on the Grococo farm. The farm is one of the founding farms of The Grenada Organic Cocoa Farmers’ Cooperative.
Rococo sells exquisite chocolates, beautifully presented in boxes, bars and often in quirky shapes and designs. I choose a selection of their bars (Crystallised Ginger, Earl Grey Tea and Orange & Geranium) and a box of butter fudge as gifts for family members. The real challenge will be leaving them untouched under the tree!
Check out Rococo’s scrumptious selection at http://www.rococochocolates.com/
Made by inspiring social enterprise Elvis & Kresse, the latest purchase for my Social Enterprise Christmas Shopping Challenge is a set of six tablemats and coasters. Like many of Elvis & Kresse’s products the set is made from de-commissioned British fire brigade hoses.
Elvis & Kresse scrub away all the soot and grease that builds up after the hoses have been used for about 25 years. At the end of life as a hose, instead of being sent to landfill, the otherwise waste material is turned in to beautiful accessories such as handbags, belts, laptop covers and tablewear. And in addition to reducing waste, Elvis & Kresse donate 50% of profit to charities relating to the waste they collect, such as the Fire Fighters charity.
The wrapping (also entirely reclaimed) is so stylish I couldn’t bear to unwrap my table mats to take a picture, so here’s the one from the Elvis & Kresse website:
I’m a huge fan of this social enterprise because it couples fantastic environmental and social benefits. So yes, I am saving up for a handbag!
Check out the Elvis & Kresse shop at: http://www.elvisandkresse.com/index.html
On Monday night some of the from babies with love volunteers and I ate at the wonderful social enterprise, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen.
As soon as you walk in the door you see the chefs at work in the open style kitchen and feel the buzzing atmosphere. We began with a delicious sharing board of antipasti and enjoyed main courses such as gnocchi with artichokes and prosciutto and “frutti di mare” risotto. Scrumptious stuff!
Now celebrating 10 years, 109 apprentices have graduated from the Fifteen programme, which aims to empower young people and give them skills to change their lives. Many of the apprentices have had difficult backgrounds, are struggling to find work and have left mainstream education. Whilst gaining a professional chef qualification, they complete work experience in one of the Fifteen restaurants, and the majority of apprentices go on to secure professional jobs.
As well as thanking our volunteers for their amazing work, and enjoying the delicious food, I visited Fifteen to buy my first Christmas present, as part of my social enterprise Christmas challenge. This year I’m buying all my presents from social enterprises; if I can buy gorgeous products from businesses that have social aims, not only am I going to give great gifts, I’m going to feel great knowing that I’m helping amazing people create social benefits.
Fifteen was a brilliant place to start! The Fifteen shop sells a range of gifts such as food, t-shirts and cookbooks. I chose the irresistible “Big Box of Love”. Beautifully presented in a cool wooden box, it’s for an aunt and uncle, who love all things delicious. Inside they’ll find prosceco, olive oil and balsamic vinegar amongst other treats. And best of all, the box design includes some quick snippets of information about the apprentice programme, so my aunt and uncle will enjoy their goodies and enjoy knowing how the apprentices will benefit.
Needless to say I highly recommend! Congratulations to all the apprentices and Fifteen team; we had a wonderful evening and the opportunities you provide to #BuySocial are fantastic! Check out the Fifteen shop for some fantastic xmas presents: http://www.fifteenshop.net/engine/shop/index.html
Scratching your head about what to give at Christmas? Want to buy great gifts that make a difference? Why not join me in my Social Enterprise Christmas Shopping Challenge? It’s simple: Buy Social. Over the next few weeks I’m going to buy all my Christmas presents from Social Enterprises.
There are more options than you might initially think…. I’ve already figured out for whom I’m buying Social Enterprise gifts such as a handbag, underwear and chocolates. The Social Enterprise sector is growing, so “buying social” is easier than ever.
Why Buy Social? Social Enterprises are just like normal businesses, except they have social aims. For example to support disadvantaged people by providing employment or to reduce waste by turning discarded materials into beautiful products. When you can buy from a company that has a social mission and uses its profit to do something good, why buy anywhere else?
As the founder of a Social Enterprise, www.frombabieswithlove.org, I’m excited to see the increasing range and number of Social Enterprise retailers. At from babies with love we sell organic baby clothes and donate 100% of our profit to orphaned and abandoned babies. Customers enjoy their beautiful purchases and enjoy knowing they’re helping vulnerable babies elsewhere. A win-win!
So, to my shopping list… I’m looking for fantastic Social Enterprise gifts for my family and friends, for a range of ages (from children to grandparents)… gifts that are going to feel wonderful to buy as well as to give. I’ll be updating this blog as I go, shouting about just how many brilliant options there are to Buy Social. If you have suggestions please get in touch, I would love to hear ideas!
Banish the reindeer patterned jumper. Join me in the Buy Social Revolution.
Cecilia Crossley is the founder of frombabieswithlove.org Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, on twitter @frombabies or by using #BuySocial
Meet Anjali! She’s 20 months old and from India, and from babies with love has just begun supporting her. Anjali is an orphan, but she began a new life when she was welcomed to the SOS Children’s village in Faridabad, northern India at the beginning of this year.
India is the world’s largest democracy and is one of the fastest growing developing countries. Yet the population of over 1 billion face many social problems – in the context of great inequality. 47% of children under 5 are malnourished, and there is a high incidence of child labour and out-of-school children.
But thanks to the love and care from her SOS Mother in the children’s village, Anjali will grow up without many of the challenges and worries that so many Indian children face.
Faridabad children’s village is the smallest in India. It has 5 family houses and 4 youth houses. There is a combined nursery, primary and secondary school for 1,400 children – from the village and surrounding community. Faridabad village is also a training centre for all the SOS Children’s villages in India.
We are so delighted to have received a letter from the Village this week, and adorably, this heart warming picture of the village, drawn by one of the children. Looks like Anjali might grow up to be a footballer!
On 10th October new SOS foster mothers welcomed guests celebrating the opening of SOS Children’s new village in Chipata, Zambia!
In Chipata one in six children are orphans. “Filthy, hungry and with nothing. You wouldn’t believe the state the children are in when they come to us”, confided Mulenga-Chilambo, Village Director. But as the charity SOS Children reported, the children no longer have to worry about the hardships they have suffered in their short lives. Now settling in with their new SOS foster months, they have the love and security they need to flourish.
The children are now living in family homes headed by their SOS foster mother. Each home has a large living space, a kitchen, two bathrooms, bedrooms with bunk-beds for the children, a porch and garden. The gardens have a vegetable plot, so the children can learn the skills to produce food for themselves and their families.
By donating its profits from selling organic baby clothes from babies with love is supporting the new nursery school, where toddlers in the village, and the surrounding community, will access education for the first time.
Alongside SOS Children, all the new families and the many UK supporters that have made Chiapata Village possible, we are so happy to see the wonderful celebrations and look forward to watching the children grow up!