a peek inside the fishbowl

24 Nov, 2017

Gifts for people who have everything, part 2: Gifts that break the cycle of poverty

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!

I received a sweet little package the other day from the folks at ME to WE and wanted to share it here in case you are looking for some inspired gift giving ideas:

ME to WE gifts

I should backtrack a bit. Part 1 of this mini-series about gift giving was about mittens, but it was about more than mittens… it was about supporting hyperlocal businesses at a grassroots level at your local school/church holiday bazaar. When you shop locally, you support locals, and make your community a better place to live. That being said, I’m coming at you with a different kind of gift idea today, but the root of it all is essentially the same: choosing meaningful gifts can make a difference to someone.

Do you believe that a gift can change the world? I do.

Some of you may recall my blog post about the opening of the WE Store at the Rideau Centre. That day, I got to chat with Mama Helen, a ME to WE artisan from Kenya whose life was turned around with the help of this amazing social enterprise. She’s one of over 1,500 women in Kenya and Ecuador employed through ME to WE who are using traditional skills, passed down through generations, and making gorgeous items (at all price points!) to sell here, on the other side of the world. This endeavour provides artisans with an income, empowers women, and has far-reaching effects that have a lasting impact. Mama Helen, for example, was able to send her sons to university.

ME to WE focuses on what they call the five Pillars of Impact, which include education, water, health, food and opportunity. With ME to WE’s unique Track Your Impact model, shoppers can track where their impact is delivered and see how their purchase makes a real difference.

I wanted to share a few of my favourite items from the ME to WE holiday gift guide:

  • Semiprecious balance Rafiki features semiprecious stones, glass beads and 24k gold-plated glass beads on a stretchy cord. It is gorgeous. I’m not really keen on bold, statement jewelry and this can be worn with anything. It’s totally me! In fact, I am wearing it right now. This piece was handcrafted by a mama in Kenya who earned a fair wage for her work. What’s more, funds the sale of this piece go towards clean water initiatives in Kenya.
  • #Girllove Rafiki 2.0 + Pin Set includes a heart-shaped enamel pin and a #GirlLove Rafiki created in collaboration with Youtuber, Lilly Singh. Every Rafiki and pin helps girls in Kenya go to school. Last year, the #GirlLove Rafiki gave more than 600 girls access to education. My daughters would love this, I’m sure.
  • “Be You” necklace. Isn’t this a great message to leave someone in their Christmas stocking? This labradorite necklace symbolizes transformation and wisdom, and gives education to a child in a developing community.
  • CHOCOLATE – All ME to WE Chocolate is made with sustainably grown cacao beans from Ecuador. The bar I received in my package gives a boost to my energy levels, but also to schools in Ecuador. If you’re passionate about education or know someone who is (like, say, a teacher you know), this would make a very sweet little gift. (Ha. Pun totally intended.)
  • And for those people who don’t really want or need a gift, you might want to check out the ME to WE charitable donation catalogue. If you donate before December 1 you can make twice the impact this holiday season. For example, you can give the gift of a primary education for one child ($50) or one year of healthy lunches for a student ($25).

I, for one, would love to receive Christmas gifts that help send kids to school, contribute to clean drinking water, or ensure good health. Gifts that have a lasting impact on developing communities are truly gifts that gives many times over, don’t you think?

3 Responses to "Gifts for people who have everything, part 2: Gifts that break the cycle of poverty"

1 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive University student care package #2! - a peek inside the fishbowl

December 1st, 2017 at 4:41 pm


[…] Me to We Rafiki bracelet I received in this amazing little package and wanted to pass […]

2 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Gifts for people who have everything part 4: DINNER. - a peek inside the fishbowl

December 5th, 2017 at 3:25 pm


[…] mini-series about gifts for people who have everything I’ve written about mittens, giftie things that make the world a better place from Me to We, and air plants. Today, I am putting forth an idea that I KNOW everyone would […]

3 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Gifts for people who have everything, part 6: A wee gadget that might be the tiniest bit insulting - a peek inside the fishbowl

December 17th, 2017 at 12:56 pm


[…] mentioned a few items that might make that special someone a nice Christmas gift: mittens, gifts that help break the cycle of poverty, an air plant, home cooked meals made via Supperworks, and the gift of an […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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