Shop Last-Minute Artisan Gifts That Give Back
Shopping for a last-minute gift has never been easier — or made such a difference in the lives of UNICEF Market artisans around the world, who have been impacted by COVID-19. There's still time to express ship the perfect, one-of-a-kind gift that helps artisans struggling to keep their businesses afloat during the pandemic. The added bonus: Every purchase supports UNICEF’s programs for children.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many UNICEF Market artisans lost their income as tourism dried up in their countries. But instead of giving up as their business dwindled, those with the know-how, equipment and materials to sew, have turned their talents to making cloth face masks.
"When Covid came, I wanted to protect my husband, my children and my grandchildren — but in Mexico, there was a shortage of face masks," recalls Maria Martinez, a UNICEF Market artisan from Guadalajara who learned to sew from her grandmother and mother. "So I made masks for my family and friends. Then neighbors began to ask where they could buy them. So, I started to make masks to sell, and now my masks are being worn in many places in the world. This is a noble experience for me. I am taking care of my family and I am doing my part in some small way to keep Covid from spreading."
Here, meet a few more of the talented makers whose unique handcrafted face masks will help your loved ones safely put their best face forward — and give you peace of mind knowing they’re protected.
"When the virus came, orders for clothing seemed to disappear and so did our income. I realized that there was a way for us to survive by taking advantage of what we had. We are skilled sewers and we had some fabric stock. We began to make masks instead of clothing.
"My workers have income and I thank everyone. I think that when people are wearing my masks, they are also wearing a smile that is sending encouragement to everyone. We can all be strong and we will get through this difficult time together."
Jamriang Pookintah's masks feature soft Thai cotton and modern motifs with three protective layers to keep you safe and comfortable.
"When the pandemic came, it was terrible — there were no tourists. The stores that sell my clothes closed their doors and canceled my orders.
"I learned that disposable masks were in short supply and I began to make masks that were washable and reusable from my material. I gave them to family and friends and then to those who couldn’t afford masks because they had no money.
"Customers like my masks so much that I have been able to keep on my team of workers. We are grateful to everyone around the world who has bought our masks. We are happy to be able to take care of our families while helping to keep you safe."
Galuh Kenanga's stylish masks feature fresh and vibrant colors and designs.
"When Covid came, I was very afraid. Tourist hotels and the boutiques that sell my clothes were closed — I worried about how I would support my family and how my workers would support their families.
"Then I thought of what we do every day and realized that all the cut fabrics, the embroidery and the beadwork that we use to create our clothing could be used to make masks. And so we did! Our masks are both functional and beautiful — to make them encourages us to keep going and we want to encourage you to keep going when you wear them. We will survive this together."
Made Suciati’s mask designs are inspired by the flowers in her garden and by Bali's rich artistic culture and beautiful tropical beaches.
Top photo: Peruvian designer Ana Fernandez is just one of many UNICEF Market artisans who love pursuing their craft because it allows her to give back to her community: “Designing lets me give jobs to local people, especially women who want to get ahead and secure a better future.” © Novica