How Fair Trade Gifts Support Women in Haiti and Iraq (w giveaway)

How we spend our money matters. We can choose to support retail giants, small businesses in our community, or buy fair trade gifts that support women in other countries. Personally, I love shopping small and for fair trade goods whenever possible, so the money I spend supports families. Keep reading about how fair trade gifts support women and enter to win some items from Catalyst Collections!

As an award-winning philanthropist for my work in Haiti, I’ve witnessed the impact of fair trade products on entire communities. Fair trade goods ensure artisans receive a fair price for their work. A fair price means artisans receive wages to afford life’s essentials such as food and education. Fair trade products are a sustainable way to make a living. They also provide economic empowerment through meaningful work.

How Catalyst Collections Fair Trade Gifts Support Women


Catalyst Collections works to revive artisan capacity and entrepreneurship in Iraq and Haiti. Through social enterprise hubs, operated in Baghdad and Port-au-Prince, Catalyst Collections works with resilient and determined women.

Many women Catalyst Collection works with have faced a lifetime of struggle in countries where it’s hard to earn an income, let alone get ahead. The purchase of one a handcrafted product from Catalyst Collection gives one of these incredible women an income for themselves and their family.

With each purchase, you support a mother, daughter, wife, entrepreneur, sister, and artisan. 100% of the profit from your purchase is re-invested into the local enterprise hubs to support the continued development of local business and artisan skills.

Fair Trade Gifts from Haiti

I’ve collected gorgeous pieces made by soapstone and metalwork artisans that I’ve gotten to know from my numerous trips to Haiti. When I look at the Fanm Limye line, I can see the river in Leogane that serves as the source of the stones that become the riverstone tealights and taper candleholders. I hear the distinct tapping on metal oil drums as artisans in Leogane create each scratch and divot that become items such as the Hamsa Serving Tray, Hibiscus Garden Stakes, and Lam Veritab Bowls.

Fanm Limye is Haitian Creole for “Illuminated Women. Launched in Haiti in 2012, Fanm Limye promotes the economic empowerment of vulnerable Haitian women.

Through the years, Fanm Limye has grown into a network of small businesses that includes candle makers, metal workers, recyclers, and beekeepers. All work together to produce gorgeous fair trade products for your home. Products in this collection are handmade by artisans using upcycled materials sourced in Haiti. Here are a couple items from the Haitian Fanm Limye line that I absolutely love.

Arabesque Luminary


I am always captivated by the intricacies of Haitian metalwork. Having watched artisans make each cut, scratch, line, and dot by hand makes them even more special.

The luminary candle is made by Djoudline, a woman in Haiti who learned how to make candles and enjoys the people she works with on her team. She appreciates how they share their knowledge and skills to make high-quality products.

It was love at first sight when I saw the interlacing design of the Arabesque Luminaries. The cut-outs create for the candle glow to peek through when lit. It’s perfect to display on a mantle or in any room to create a soothing glow.

The Arabesque Luminary is of 100% beeswax hand poured into an upcycled rum bottle. The candle sits inside a metal luminary that used to be a metal oil barrel.

The item comes gift wrapped in a recycled Kraft pinstripe cardboard box with Fanm Limye’s logo and a story card providing information about our artisans and Prosperity Catalyst.

I usually love a good statement necklace, but the Lotus Earrings are the perfect accessory to dress up any LBD. These handcrafted earrings are made by Haitian metal workers from upcycled oil drums.

The lotus flower symbolizes purity of the body, speech and mind. They remind us even in difficult times there is beauty and grace in the world.

Fair Trade Gifts from Iraq

Looking through the items that are part of Catalyst Collections’ Akkadian Collection, instantly transported me to Turkey. The name Akkadian comes from Akkad, a city in Ancient Mesopotamia. Today it includes parts of Iraq, Turkey and Syria.

Gorgeous painted candles, beaded jewelry in vibrant colors, and home goods are part of the Akkadian Collection. This innovative program is the first of its kind in the region that creates economic opportunities for Iraqi women through entrepreneurship and handcrafting artisan products sold throughout the world. The project has grown to include vulnerable women all over Iraq, including war widows, internally displaced women fleeing ISIS, and religious minorities.

Items made for the Akkadian Collection have the power to change women’s lives. Watch this video to learn more about Iman, a married mother of three boys.

Iman always dreamed of working but never thought she was educated enough to find a job. Her mother died when she was younger, and she wasn’t able to finish her education because she had to drop out and care for her family.

Through Catalyst Collection, Iman has been able to achieve her dream. The income she earns pouring candles helps ensure a better future for her sons. She’s also received the gift of having a community of mothers to bond with while working.

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