Last year on Black Friday you helped us raise enough money to cover the cost of giving 36 girls an education at a school in India. 10% of every sale over the weekend was donated to a charity called Fior di Loto, an amazing grassroots charity in a town near our partners factory in India, founded by Deepu & Mara. They provide a great education for young girls that might not have otherwise had the opportunity. The school needs £200 per student per year, this covers the cost of their education, uniforms, books, travel, food and one fancy dress for their big festival Diwali! (which is similar to Christmas for us).
Education is the key to change; it's the best way to reduce poverty and to provide all sorts of life opportunities. It's easy to take education for granted in the UK but we are continually inspired by stories from advocates such as Malala Yousafrazai and we wanted to do something to help those who have less access to it.
Most of the teachers are ex-students of the school and have so much passion for what they do! They have seen their students become teachers, nurses, small business owners and tailors. Fior Di Loto have their own primary school, and this is where a lot of the funds go, but it doesn’t stop there - when the girls move onto a public high school and then college, they continue to support them.
We're so thrilled that 36 girls have had the chance to learn and grow this year. Lucy & Chris met them all on their last trip, and the girls keep in touch by sending letters, drawings and their grades in the post to us. We wanted to show you so you can see what a tangible, important difference you've made to these young girls' lives.
This foundation really is making a difference to many generations in Pushkar. Deepu, Mara and the teachers are the ones doing the amazing work and they deserve all of the recognition for it, but if we can help them out a little then that’s great! We have been hard at work planning what we can do this year to make it even better - watch this space to see what we've got planned, we'll be announcing soon!
In the meantime check out our tips for shopping consciously amongst the Black Friday chaos!
Shopping Consciously - Our Top Tips
Black Friday doesn't have to be a bad thing. It can be an opportunity to stock up on some essentials at a more affordable price. And if you get your mindset right, it doesn't have to mean waste and excess. Here's some ideas:
1) Make a list
The adverts are popping up, tempting you to think you need something new when perhaps you don't. Before heading online, make a list of what you really need. Think carefully about whether you need it, or just want it! I'm hopeless at that - it's so easy to persuade myself I need something new but it's not always true. Is it time to replace an item, or could you repair it instead? Check out our recent post on personalising your Yaks - you could upcycle other items too.
2) Pause before Purchasing!
Ask yourself a few questions before you click the "Buy now" button. Do you know who made what you're buying and how they were treated? What is the product made of and is there a more sustainable alternative?
3) Buy less, buy better
This is a bit of a mantra with shopping. Think carefully about how many times you will use what you're going to buy. Is it worth it? Maybe it would be better to buy fewer items that might cost a bit more. You'll save in two ways - a good quality coat, for example, should last you several winters. One coat now is better than 2 coats this year, and 2 next.
4) Look in your wardrobe first
It's really useful to check out your wardrobe before heading online or out to the shops to make a purchase. It helps you assess whether you need what you're thinking of buying, and it is also good to think about how your choices might fit with what you've already got. If it doesn't, there's a good chance you won't wear it.
5) Shop independent
There's something really special about shopping in an independent store. But because these are often small businesses they may not be able to offer Black Friday discounts or like us, they might be choosing to use Black Friday in a different, more positive way. By not offering discounts they may miss out on some custom. Show your support by shopping there anyway; you're investing in something really worthwhile.
How do you feel about Black Friday? We love to hear about great sustainable initiatives that support people and planet so get in touch to share your best alternatives to the Black Friday Sales!