"If only I get the chance, I will do something great."

These words, spoken by a 13-year old Zimbabwean girl in 1991, inspired Ann Cotton to create CAMFED, the Campaign for Female Education. I became aware of CAMFED through The Hunger Site in September of last year, around the time of my birthday. Wanting to do something special and meaningful, and potentially great to celebrate my 50th, I donated money to buy school shoes for girls in rural Africa, and I encouraged my friends to do the same. Since then, I've done it again, and it always feels great to know so little can mean so much.

There are other sites, and other ways to "do something great," and I thought I'd share some I've found. Global Girlfriend's 'woman made, eco-friendly, fair trade' attitude permeates their site, along with photographs and stories about the women and organizations associated with the products. There's a write up about Global Girlfriend in the May issue of Oprah magazine, which should bring much-deserved attention.

One World Projects, uniting the world through compassionate trade, offers products from Africa, Asia and Latin America. From their website: "We strive to be a positive force in reducing poverty, restoring balance in nature, and promoting peace by providing viable economic alternatives for artisans." Visit the website and enjoy the beautiful work of women from around the world.

Here in Raleigh, and in other parts of the country, there is Ten Thousand Villages, a store and website which brings "joy, dignity and hope" to the lives of the artisans producing fair trade goods.
I first became aware of Ten Thousand Villages when I was given this best friends pin by my dear friend Beverly Jean when we were both still in Boston. It's now a favorite gift-buying destination of mine, both for friends and for myself.

So, when you're shopping for that special gift for yourself or someone you love, remember the words of a girl who began a movement, and "do something great".