It is amazing to see how God has worked in the lives of our children over the past two years, and it is our sincere hope that we would continue to have an impact on the orphan community while we are in Ghana. I hope to volunteer at a clinic that is on an orphanage property, treating not only the orphans there, but the Muslim women in the community as well.
Not everyone is called to pick up and move halfway around the world to help orphans, or even to foster or adopt an orphan. But we are all responsible for caring for the fatherless, the poor, and the foreigner. Scripture encourages us over 30 times to care for the fatherless, to include them in our prosperity, to defend them when they cannot defend themselves. Cultures of poverty can lead to families having to give up their children to orphanages or selling them into slavery. Most of the world’s orphans have extended family, but they are too poor to care for the children. The good news is that by adjusting our spending habits, we can significantly reduce the number of orphans and slaves in the world. In this season of abundance and generosity, please consider to remember where your gifts have come from, and the hands that were made to produce them.
For instance, there are 242,000 young people in slavery in Ghana, many of them children, and many working in the chocolate industry. Most of us buy chocolate near the cash register that supports that slave industry. If we were to look a little harder in the candy section, most grocery stores carry Fair Trade chocolate, such as Divine Chocolate, which is produced by the farmers in Ghana who are paid a not only a fair price for their crops, but an additional financial investment to help bring their communities out of poverty.
Coffee is another commonly purchased item that we almost all have in our homes. In fact, coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, next to oil. Coffee growers typically receive as compensation only 10% of what we pay for coffee when we buy from the big brands. Growers are often forced to sell their coffee for less than what it cost to produce it, essentially enslaving them as they have to work their way to pay off what it cost them three years to grow. If we all pictured those trapped in poverty by our brand loyalty when we hit the switch on the coffee machine in the morning, it wouldn’t really be “the best part of waking up,” would it? If instead we all decided to purchase Fair Trade coffee rather than the most popular brands we see advertised, we could shape the way coffee growers in third world are treated and compensated, bringing hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty.
Those are just two examples of how our dollars can be used to treat those in developing countries with fairness and justice. There are many more ways you can consider making your dollar go a lot further when shopping this Christmas season. Here are just a few of the hundreds of opportunities you can take part in to help defend the cause of the poor, the orphan, and the foreigner.
Shop to Support Adoptive Families
- ShowHope.org — The adoption support organization started by Steven Curtis Chapman. Donate to an adoptive family, or shop for a cause.
- FeedingTheOrphans.org — Started by a 10 year-old from Knoxville, this nonprofit offers shopping and sponsorship opportunities to meet the physical and spiritual needs of children in Ghana and Togo. (They have some super cute women’s skirts that I am loving!)
- Just Love Coffee — Award-winning coffee roaster sells fresh roasted Fair Trade coffee in support of adoptive families.
- JubileesJewels.com — Stamped jewelry sold by an adoptive family to support other adoptive families.
- On Etsy
Child Sponsorship and Gifts
- Lifesong for Orphans Gifts of Purpose
- Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog
- Matumaini’s Mission Child Sponsorship
- SOS Children’s Villages International Child or Village Sponsorship. If you sponsor an African child, indicate in the notes that you want to sponsor a child in Tamale, Ghana. We’ll be moving there in the next 2 years and can visit your child!
- The Hunger Site — A huge site that offers the opportunity to shop to benefit causes that are important to you — Fair Trade, Autism Awareness, Breast Cancer Research, and more. Hundreds of items at great prices from toys, to apparel, to footwear and more. You’ll find lots of great items at this store!
- PACT — A Fair Trade clothing retailer of fun and funky basics — socks, underwear, t-shirts, and hoodies.
- Global Mamas — Sells unique handcrafted items in colorful fabrics made by Ghanaian women to improve their standard of living.
- PartnersForJustTrade.org — Faith-based Fair Trade organization bringing craftsman out of poverty by connecting them with consumers in North America.
- TenThousandVillages.com — Fair Trade retailer since 1946 providing a wide variety of merchadise for all ages from around the world.
- NoondayCollection.com — Supports artisans around the world and provides opportunities for adoptive families to raise funds to bring their families together.
- TradeAsOne.com — A store and subscription-based Fair Trade service that ships grocery items every 3 months for around $1 a day. Introduces consumers to the variety and quality of Fair Trade items.
- Amazon.com — This popular retailer is continually expanding its selection of Fair Trade products, but you MUST search for them by typing in “Fair Trade.”
- Fair Indigo — A retailer that allows you to shop your conscience, carrying Fair Trade, USA-made, upcycled, vegan, and organic items. This retailer has been a consistent favorite of ours!
Other ways to reduce the number of slaves and orphans in the world
- Buy clothing and household items at second-hand stores that support charity rather than slavery.
- Buy coffee from Fair Trade sources, then add more Fair Trade products over time.
- Review BetterWorldShopper.org or Free2Work.org to rate practices of the retailers you frequent.
- Investigate your slavery footprint at SlaveryFootprint.org.
Even if you may not be able to make a difference with all of your purchases this Christmas season, each and every purchase helps! Your dollars let retailers know that you care when they donate products to good causes, use ethical sourcing, and pay their workers fair wages. Every time you make a purchase, you are essentially voting on how you believe we should treat employees around the world.
“This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” Jeremiah 22:3 NIV