All posts by Victoria Gonzalez

Human Rights: Fair Trade Makes A Huge Difference

Human Rights Day and Human Rights Watch with a blog post by Prosperity Candle about refugees and fair trade

Sunday, December 10th is International Human Rights Day!

That may sound like an obscure event held at the UN, but it’s much bigger than that. Around the world, we see the basic rights of people stripped away… things we often take for granted like freedom from slavery and torture, and the right to free speech.

And everywhere, freedom from discrimination and the right to a fair trial is a battle we must persistently wage.

It’s often hard to imagine how one person can make a dent in helping to solve such big problems… we feel like our actions are small and insignificant. But they’re not. Collectively, we have incredible power.

And one way to wield that power is in the marketplace. This is not a pitch to buy candles or anything we make. It’s a call to action we have felt for decades working in impoverished places around the world and seeing with our own eyes how our purchasing choices can make a difference. A huge difference.

You can positively impact many lives simply by how you shop for gifts this holiday. Together, we can help communities create a brighter future for their children.

Just choose fair trade gifts. Not for everything… it’s not easy to find fair trade electronics, but there are so many great products out there that are perfect for family and friends – and were ethically made following fair trade principles.

WFTO World Fair Trade Organization fair trade principles for member Prosperity Candle

These principles are actually not that hard when businesses care as much about how something is made as they profit they earn. It’s about paying living wages, ensuring a safe workplace, doing right by the environment, and supporting basic human rights including equality and self determination.

It’s a vision of a world where farmers can afford to eat the food they produce, garment workers have decent clothing to wear, and artisans can support their families. There’s more to it, but that’s the essence. And it really does make a difference.

We know this because we’ve seen how living wages and healthy working conditions have positively impacted the women refugees here in our studio, as well as the hundreds of artisans we work with around the world. They lead better lives with more opportunities. There is equal opportunity and safer working environments for women. There is no child labor so kids are more likely to get an education.

Fair trade principles on Human Rights Day ensure children go to school

As a social enterprise, we believe in the power of fair trade and an ethical marketplace to change lives for the better.

So this year, we’re celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights by sharing this one simple way you can stand up for the rights and dignity of people around the world.

SHOP FAIR TRADE

You’ll discover there are plenty of fair trade products out there, as well as  fair trade gift guides. Click on the links above, or simply search “fair trade gifts” to find great online retailers like Fair Trade Winds, Global Goods Partners, SERRV and hundreds more.

The Little Market is one of our favorites… a fair trade nonprofit we work with that sells beautifully handmade products to empower female artisans around the world. Its co-founders Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla put human rights at the core of their mission.

Not quite there yet? That’s OK! Here’s a great way to get started:  declare you want to use your purchasing power for good by signing the Fair Trade Certified pledge. It’s easy and motivating.

Then join millions in celebrating Human Rights Day by purchasing fair trade this holiday, beginning right now. Look for these logos whenever you shop:

Fair trade organizations offering ethically made fair trade products and gifts

And yes, we’d of course love for you to check out our fair trade candles and gift sets, but that’s not why we wrote this post. We’re asking you to keep this idea in mind of purchasing with purpose wherever you shop – and will encourage others to do the same.

If you’re interested in human rights and how you can get involved, please visit Human Rights Watch. You can also learn more about Human Rights Day and Fair Trade Principles.

Thank you!

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” – Nelson Mandela

Lovable Dogs Who Also Save Lives

Love dogs who save lives here at Prosperity Candle where we pour handmade soy blend fair trade candles and giftsThe bond between Koda and Emily goes far beyond love.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, so as dog lovers we thought we’d share the incredible story of an 18-month-old Labrador retriever who alerts a 14-year girl old to dangerous changes in her blood sugar.

Emily has Type I diabetes. She was diagnosed when she was just 6. About 5 months ago she was given a very special furry companion named Koda who has been trained to smell when Emily’s blood sugar drops too low or rises too high. The magic of Koda is that he detects the fluctuations a full 30 minutes before the medical equipment does.

These 30 minutes are huge. Emily has fallen into a diabetic coma 4 times in her life so far. And her doctor said that if she were to fall into another one, she might not wake up.

Incredible dogs savings lives here at Prosperity Candle where we pour handmade soy blend fair trade candles and gifts

Yet Koda is always keeping watch. He’s trained to keep alerting Emily when her blood sugar is too low or high until she takes action. And if she ignores him, he finds friends and family to alert. It’s called trained disobedience.

Koda has changed Emily’s life. Today she is a junior in high school and can try sports and dancing for the first time. Koda is her loyal sidekick and best friend who looks out for her at home and at school.

There are so many reasons to love dogs. They are there when you’re sad or want to wrestle, need to get out for a walk or cuddle on a cold day. Or just hang out. We don’t know Koda, but we love him and are inspired by how he’s helping Emily live a happier, safer and more fulfilled life.

Do you have a story of a dog who helps someone? We’d love to hear it! Share in the comments section below.

Read the full story about Koda and Emily in The Seattle Times.

Image Sources.

National Diabetes Awareness Month Seattle Times story about Koda and Emily


Wet Dog Candle great smelling for dog lovers fair trade and ethically handmade soy blend candle by women artisans at Prosperity Candle

We are dog lovers ourselves… that’s Riley on our new Wet Dog candle in 3 wonderful scents (that don’t smell like a wet dog!): Blue Fir & Spice, Lemon & Lavender, Spearmint & Eucalyptus.

Riley is our Labrador-Whippet mix adopted in 2014 from a Louisiana shelter. She’s been coming to the studio every day since and owns the Moroccan couch – not to mention our hearts.

We like to light a Wet Dog candle to “tame that wet fur smell” when she’s been roaming about or rolling around in who knows what. It’s fun and makes a great gift for the dog lovers in your life.

Check out the Wet Dog candle in our store.

 

Top 10 Inspiring Women’s Events

Create Cultivate Women's Conference “Seize every opportunity you can to advocate for the women who are advocating for everyone else.” – Melinda Gates

When you invest in women, change happens. Because when a woman thrives, a family thrives, a community prospers, and an entire nation is better able to create a foundation for peace and prosperity.

That is what many people believe and advocate, and we’re 100% with them. At Prosperity Candle, we’ve been investing in women in places like Haiti, Iraq and refugees here in the U.S. for the past 8 years because we believe it leads to a brighter future for everyone, everywhere.

Today people all over the world are focusing on the power of women to create big and lasting change. And for good reason. Check out Time Magazine’s recently published series Firsts: Women Who Are Changing the World that showcases inspiring women who are indeed making big and lasting change happen.

Want to get involved? Great! Reach out to women’s groups in your area to connect with like-minded people, and take a look at this list of upcoming events across the U.S. and in London that have inspired us. They take place every year, so if one has already passed, mark your calendar for the next one!

Upcoming Events

IWF World Leadership Conference: The Global Citizen (Oct. 25-27): This conference draws women from over 30 countries, connecting leaders and innovators to create a more equitable world. The International Women’s Forum holds global events, and this year’s IWF World Leadership Conference is in Houston, Texas on October 25th to 27th. The conference will focus on energy, health, space exploration, and more. Connect with IWF on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

TEDWomen 2017: Bridges (Nov. 1-3): This inspiring event focuses on women and girls as TED Women 2017 Bridges as part of Top 10 Inspiring Women's Events at Prosperity Candlepowerful innovators, creators, and change-makers. The 3 day conference in New Orleans November 1-3 is centered around women sharing powerful ideas and making connections. Some of this year’s bold speakers include social activist Valarie Kaur, leading international soccer scorer Abby Wambach, her activist wife Glennon Doyle, feminist actor Justin Baldoni, and author/poet Cleo Wade, who are all doing amazing work to propel women and girls forward. Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook. This one sells out quickly, so be sure to get on the list for next year!

WDN Connect (Nov. 9-12): The Women Donors Network is a network of women philanthropists who invest in progressive change for a more fair world through grantmaking and advocacy. WDN Connect started in 2013 as a way to connect women change-makers and progressive speakers and engage with local and national leaders. This year’s conference takes place November 9-12 in Atlanta and will focus on issues of race, equity, and gender. There will be conversations and workshops around building inclusive communities, protest and power, and the role of women donors during a time of resistance. Sally Yates kicks off the event with a talk. Join the community on Twitter and Facebook.

8th Womensphere Emerging Leaders Global Summit: The Next Generation of Women Leaders Creating the Future (Nov. 10-11): Womensphere is an organization that invests in women innovation and leadership development to empower women to create a better future and world. This year’s Emerging Leaders Global Summit is held in New York City November 10-11th. The event celebrates and connects women who are transforming the world through leadership, innovation, creativity, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and design, and math), entrepreneurship, and sustainability. Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook for inspiring news and updates.

Tech Up for Women Conference (Nov. 14): This exciting event is about empowering Tech Up for Women conference as part of Top 10 Inspiring Women's Events at Prosperity Candle.women in technology, and it is launching this November 14th in New York City. Women in tech, this is not an event to miss! Connect with them on Facebook.

Trust Conference (Nov. 15-16): The Trust Conference is an event that started in 2012 as Trust Women, where global corporations, world leaders, lawyers, and change-makers come together to discuss advancing women’s rights and ending slavery. The conference takes place in London November 15-16 and focuses on taking action. It has expanded this year to also include larger global human rights issues. Join the community on Twitter.

The Massachusetts Conference for Women  (Dec. 7): This is a sell-out one-day annual Massachusetts Conference for Women as part of the Top 10 Inspiring Women's Events at Prosperity Candle.event where women in the workplace gather to talk about entrepreneurship, personal finance, business, and health. We’ve been many times, and even participated! This year features inspirational speakers Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, and Adam Grant. The one-day conference takes place on December 7th in Boston, MA. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for inspirational content and news.

Create & Cultivate LA (Feb 24): A one-day event for women looking to create and cultivate Lauren Conrad Hannah Skvarla Create & Cultivate LA Prosperity Candlethe career of their dreams. Feel inspired, enhance your business, mix, mingle and cultivate new friendships. At Create & Cultivate you are destined to meet other talented, like-minded women, including our incredible and inspiring partners Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla who will be the keynote speakers! Join the next generation of curious creatives, entrepreneurs and bosses to spark conversation around the topics they are passionate about from influencer marketing and brand building to raising money.  Connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Mark Your Calendar For Next Year

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (Oct. 4-6): This October 4-6th is the world’s largest gathering of women in computing in Orlando, FL, produced by the Anita Borg Institute. Attendees will hear from women leaders in computing and network with a community of women technologists. Keynote speakers include philanthropist Melinda Gates, Dr. Ayanna Howard, Dr. Fei-Fei Li, and Mary Spio, CEO and President of CEEK VR INC. Follow GHC on Twitter and Facebook for inspiring updates on women in tech. (Last year we made custom candles for attendees)

Emerging Women Live: Changing the World (Oct. 5-8): This inspiring event brings engaging speakers to talk about creative entrepreneurship, courage, self-compassion, and leadership from a woman’s lens. This year’s Emerging Women Live is held in Denver, CO on October 5th to October 8th, and features speaker Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. Connect with Emerging Women on Facebook and Twitter.

Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit (Oct. 9-11): Every year, Fortune Magazine partners with large businesses to host a three-day Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit to highlight today’s women leaders in business. The summit is October 9-11 in Washington, D.C., and includes networking opportunities, one-on-one interviews, and panels to inspire participants. Some of this year’s speakers are Sheryl Sandberg, Co-founder of LeanIn.Org and Facebook COO, Sally Yates, U.S. Department of Justice and Former Deputy Attorney General, and Gretchen Carlson, Journalist and Women’s Empowerment Advocate. Connect with the community of women business leaders on Facebook and Twitter.

Women in the Workplace (Oct. 10): Women in the Workplace was started in 2015 by The Wall Street Journal as an annual event to discuss the current state of women in the workplace and address challenges and successes. This year the dinner will be held on October 10 in New York City. Speakers Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, and Dominic Barton, McKinsey & Company global managing director, will talk about the Women in the Workplace 2017 survey findings and what they mean. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for news and updates on the event.

What Did We Miss?

OK, that was actually 12 not 10, but there are so many great ways that amazing women are joining forces… which inspiring events did we miss? We’d love feedback and to hear your thoughts on any you’ve attended. Please let us know in the comments below!Save

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Support Breast Cancer Research & Treatment

Prosperity Candle donating to Breast Cancer Research Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness Month to support research and treatment.

One in eight women in the U.S. develop invasive breast cancer in her life, and most have no family history of it. That’s why self-exams, screenings, and knowing risk factors are so important. They can mean the difference of someone’s life.

Equally important is research. Every day countless organizations invest in developing better treatments for breast cancer and to find a cure. Ultimately, they seek to prevent it. In the last 15 years, the rates of breast cancer in the U.S. have started going down because of this tireless effort as well as increased awareness, which allows for early detection and more successful treatment.

Women make powerful contributions to families, communities, the economy and the world at large. And while October is a single month in a long journey toward a cure, spreading awareness and offering support and compassion to women battling breast cancer happens every day throughout the year and makes a huge difference. This is a fight we can all be united in.

Please consider making a donation this month to an organization battling breast cancer.

We are drawn to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for its A+ rating by Charity Watch and 4 stars given by Charity Navigator. But there are many others equally worthy of your support (see list below).

If you have already made a donation and have gift-giving on your mind, you can also make an impact with a Brilliance Candle, now with new cover sleeves to reflect your sentiments. Each is handmade by a woman refugee earning a living wage here in the U.S.  We will donate 10% of all proceeds to BCRF.

Soy blend Brilliance Candle ethically handmade by women refugees at Prosperity Candle with 10% proceeds to go to Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

If you’d like to get more involved, here is a list of breast cancer organizations in the U.S that offer research and resources – all are rated 4 stars by Charity Navigator. There are also various online communities and forums where current survivors, breast cancer patients, and communities can connect and receive support.

  1. National Breast Cancer Research Foundation – A nonprofit organization committed to achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer. They provide critical funding for cancer research worldwide to fuel advances in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis and survivorship.
  2. National Breast Cancer Foundation – A charity that helps women by providing services, education, and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer, for example by providing mammograms to women in need.
  3. Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation – An organization that works to achieve a future without breast cancer and improve the lives of people impacted by it now through education, advocacy, and collaborative cutting-edge research on cause and prevention.
  4. Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation – A nonprofit dedicated to making innovative contributions to the understanding, research, and treatment of breast cancer.
  5. It’s The Journey, Inc. – An organization founded in 2002 in Georgia that raises money for breast health and breast cancer programs that focus on screening, diagnostics, genetic counseling and testing, support services, and research.
  6. Prevent Cancer Foundation – The Prevent Cancer Foundation saves lives across all populations by focusing individual behaviors, public policy, and research on prevention and early detection.
  7. Bay Area Cancer Connections – This organization offers free programs, services, and access to care including emotional support, cancer information and education, complementary therapies, health and wellness, and survivorship programs.
  8. Breastcancer.org – A nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the most reliable, complete, and up-to-date information about breast cancer to help women and their loved ones make sense of the complex medical and personal information.
  9. Living Beyond Breast CancerAn organization that provide programs and services to help people whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer and connect people with trusted breast cancer information and a community of support.
  10. Casting for Recovery – Casting for Recovery combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic fly fishing to enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer.

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Sesame Street & IRC: Helping Refugee Children

Sesame Street Workshop IRC helping Syrian refugee children with education opportunities

The ability of education to change lives is amazing. The women refugees here in the studio often share how grateful they are to have received education and healthcare from the International Rescue Committee while living in refugee camps, and what it has meant for them, their families, and especially their children.

Moo Kho says she uses the math she learned in a refugee camp every day to calculate the correct amount of fragrance to blend into wax. More importantly, Moo Kho is hopeful her four young daughters will one day go to college to pursue a master’s or doctorate’s degree and become leaders in a field of their choosing. To her, it doesn’t matter what they pursue as long as they can determine their own futures.

This vision of a brighter future originated in a refugee camp, and was made possible by education provided by international support. That’s why we are so happy that the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Sesame Workshop are partnering to bring local, culturally-relevant learning opportunities to millions of refugee children displaced from their homes in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and northern Iraq.

Sesame Street Workshop and IRC providing education program to Syrian refugee Children

These children are undergoing terrible trauma from war and conflict – and being uprooted from their homes – and are deprived of that basic childhood experience of learning and playing that most of us here in the U.S. were fortunate to have. Bringing love and care to these refugee children through education is important for them to be able to cope with challenges and begin the process of healing. Because these children are still so young, a nurturing learning environment has the power to reverse the effects of traumatic stress.

A whole generation of refugee children whose future and development is at risk will now have an opportunity to follow a different path and, hopefully, grow into adults who can thrive in their communities and contribute to the world.

We feel tremendous gratitude to Sesame Workshop for supporting these young  refugee children and helping bring them a brighter future. We believe that kindness and compassion are the ingredients for making the world a better place, and there is no better place to start than with children.

IRC and Sesame Street Workshop helping Syrian refugee children through education and opportunity

Read more about IRC and Sesame Workshop’s work with Syrian refugee children.

And please watch and share: great video of actor Mandy Patinkin and Sesame Street’s Grover talking about education for refugee children. It’s short and inspiring!

#nolostgeneration #standwithrefugees #achildisachild #refugeecrisis #childrenuprooted #missionforchildren #savethechildren #wakeupworld #sesamestreet

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Link/source: https://www.rescue.org/article/irc-and-sesame-workshop-bring-education-and-hope-refugee-children

Image sources: https://www.rescue.org/article/irc-sesame-workshop-rescuing-childrens-futures

Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=121&v=AFfw5MQdnTw

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