Christmas is coming! As the holiday season approaches, why not make your gift-giving count? Consider some unique and impactful gifts from our curated list of nine social enterprises. These businesses are dedicated to empowering displaced individuals (refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants) by supporting their talents and skills. Choose from their carefully crafted products, each designed to leave a lasting impression and create positive impact.
Inaash sells textile products made by Palestinian women in a refugee camp in Lebanon, thus helping them become economically independent. According to their website, “Since its inception in 1969 Inaash has impacted the lives of over 2,500 women refugees by providing training, income and even early education for their children. It currently supports over 350 women in five camps.” Their garments are decorated with a distinct form of hand embroidery, تطريز (toTriiz), original to Palestine.
Based in Los Angeles, USA, Quherencia is an immigrant- and woman-owned business creating jewelry (joyería), diffusers (difusores) and soy-wax candles (velas de cera de soja) delicately adorned with floral and seasonal motifs. Original scents include coffee, cucumber and coconut! New designs come up every week, and the shopper can customize them to their preferences.
Hirbawi Kufiya is the last keffiyeh (Arabic كُوفِيَّة, kufiyya) producer and seller in Palestine. The company manufactures traditional Palestinian scarves, and they offer worldwide shipping. Due to high demand, their products are currently only available for pre-order, but you can sign up with your email address to know when the next restock will be.
Nol, نول, is the Arabic word for “loom,” and in keeping with its name, Nöl Collective connects family-owned businesses, artisans and women-owned workshops in Palestine to create garments produced with traditional Palestinian techniques such as weaving, embroidery and fabric dyeing (using natural pigments, of course!) They offer free shipping to the US on orders with up to two items.
Nani Handmade is a small business based in Yerevan, Armenia, selling gorgeous hand-painted silk scarves (մետաքսե շարֆեր, metak’se sharfer) recommended by one of NaTakallam’s own Armenian language partners. The creator is just getting started, so to place an order, simply send a message to their Instagram page.
Preemptive Love is a US-based non-profit operating in multiple areas of the world that are subjected to conflicts, helping the affected population by giving them food and shelter but also work opportunities. The “Refugee Made” section of their shop offers products hand-crafted by refugees (mostly women) living in camps. These products fund the organization’s peacemaking efforts around the world.
Azmar Jewelry is a small Etsy business creating Kurdish-inspired jewelry traditional motifs. The stones and charms in their creations come from the cities of Slemani and Halabja, in the south of Iraqi Kurdistan, and they ship worldwide. Perfect if you’ve been looking for a new pair of festive-casual earrings (گواره, gwârh) or necklace (ملوانکە, mlwânkeh).
Irik Ceramics is another small business from Armenia, selling ceramics (կերամիկա, keramika) with neutral colors and a minimalistic design that will go well with almost any decorating style. Another language partner recommendation; they accept orders through Instagram direct messaging.
And then, of course, there’s NaTakallam — an award-winning social enterprise that connects language learners with native tutors from refugee backgrounds for personalized online lessons. You can choose from nine languages: Arabic, Armenian, English, French, Kurdish, Persian, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian, with language packages to suit any budget. NaTakallam not only offers a unique language and cultural experience for your loved ones but also supports the livelihoods of tutors from displaced backgrounds and their host communities. Find out why this could be the best gift for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alice Zanini is a copywriting intern at NaTakallam. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in linguistics and Middle Eastern studies. Her research focus is on sociopolitical and sociolinguistic issues in modern Turkey and the Persian-speaking world.