Monday, 31 December 2012

Dece Hats

Dece is a micro enterprise run by the Christian charity NetWorks, which has been working alongside the poor in western Romania for over 10 years. Dece clothing is life changing. Their products are handmade by Romanian women, who are living in truly difficult circumstances. With Dece they can now work from home, which enables them to make a living while taking care of their children.
The women employed by Dece are all living in difficult circumstances. Dece helps the mother of a big family to learn a trade which enables her to work from home. This means that she doesn't need any former education or experience. The mother can stay at home, washing and cooking and looking after her kids, whilst also earning money through Dece. Their wage can be the difference between having food, medicine and firewood for their families, or not.
Dece works in communities where many families are severely disadvantaged, trapped in a cycle of poverty generations old, with no foreseeable escape. By teaching women the skills needed to produce clothing they are giving them the opportunity to take charge of their future.
Not fair trade but fairly made
Dece is founded on ethical principles, but it is not a fair trade certified company for many reasons. Dece is based in Romania, which is not a third-world country, therefore the project cannot be classed as officially fair trade. We think in terms of individuals and opportunities rather than facts and figures. Dece has a hand in laying the foundations on which people can begin to build their lives.
NetWorks stands with the people
Dece is run by the Christian charity NetWorks which works with the poor on two levels, first tackling a family's most pressing problems, such as hunger and sickness, and then when the family is ready, supporting them in helping themselves. Aid never works long-term. Self-help projects are an investment in a family's future, supporting their independence, and thereby helping them to escape poverty.

Teaching families to help themselves is a vital key in helping people escape from poverty. Dece is not here to make a profit - their heart is to create more employment. The more products they sell in their online store, the more people they can directly employ. This is where they need your help. 
You can also become a distributor of DECE products wherever you live. Distributors will gain access to our bulk order rates and also be given the publicity and support needed to start to sell DECE products.
Ronell x

“While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.” {Chinua Achebe}

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Volunteer with TimeBank

TimeBank is a national volunteering charity that is passionate about volunteering and believes that good quality volunteering can make a positive impact on our society. They run their own volunteering projects, which are designed to tackle social issues. They focus on mentoring and youth-led volunteering tackling big issues head on. From social exclusion to digital inclusion, TimeBank shows the difference volunteers can make and use this to influence others – policy makers, charities and businesses.

At TimeBank they live and breathe volunteering. TimeBank staff volunteer and all their Trustees are also volunteers. They try to encourage everyone to find rewarding volunteering, whether you’re an individual, a big corporation or a small business. They also design their own projects, mainly around mentoring and youth-led volunteering.

They do four main things:
·      Mentoring programmes
·      Employee Volunteering
·      Youth programmes
·      We volunteer too

If you are passionate about volunteering and want to support TimeBank, you can get involved in the following ways:
·      Be a funder
·      Be a partner
·      Spread the word
·      Donate

Personally, I am a big advocate of mentoring programmes. At my church (re:generation) we have a great mentoring programme, where the aim is for all the active members of the church to be in an accountability partnership, to be mentored by someone and to possibly mentor others. I personally have an accountability partner and a mentor and I also mentor others. I have seen tremendous progress in my own faith and in the faith of those who I am accountable with and to. This is a really valuable programme to have, whether it is spiritual, practical or a combination of the two.

So get involved however you can and invest in the lives of others.


Ronell x

“Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.” {Isaiah 58v7}

Friday, 28 December 2012

Innocent Smoothies: Reinvestment Projects

Following on from posts about being cruelty free, eco friendly and sustainable, I wanted to write about innocent and their legacy of sustainability. innocent try to make it easy for people to do themselves some good (whilst making it taste nice too). innocent started in 1999 after selling smoothies at a music festival. Since then they've started making veg pots, juices and kids' drinks, in their quest to make natural, delicious, healthy foods that help people live well and die old.

Being sustainable is key at innocent. It might make them sound like a Miss World contestant, but at innocent, they try to leave things a little bit better than they find them. They strive to do business in a more enlightened way, where they take responsibility for the impact of their business on society and the environment, aiming to move these impacts from negative to neutral or (better still) positive. It's part of their quest to become a truly sustainable business where they have a net positive effect on the wonderful world around us.
Below you can see their strategy for doing so as well as their performance to date:
·      sustainable nutrition
·      sustainable packaging
·      sustainable legacy
I just wanted to expand a little on this last point of leaving a sustainable legacy. innocent seeks to redistribute some of the wealth the business creates to those people that need it. They do this by the employees, shareholders and the company of innocent drinks donating 10% of profits each year to charity, primarily to the innocent foundation, which funds rural development projects in the countries where our fruit comes from. Set up by innocent in 2004, the foundation's vision is to build sustainable futures for the world's poorest people. They aim to support people dependent on subsistence agriculture because they believe it is essential for communities to get the most out of the natural resources available to enable a sustainable and improved future.
The innocent foundation, since its registration in 2004, has supported 37 projects, committed almost £1.3 million to community projects and used its funding to leverage an extra £5.8 million from major public grant givers such as the EU and DFID. The foundation's projects have so far helped 505,000 people (the equivalent of 100,000 families). And it will continue to help many more.
Some of the other projects that innocent is working on include:
·      drinks for the homeless: working with FareShare to get excess stock to those who need it.
·      the big knit: how knitting over 500,000 little bobble hats for innocent drinks raised over £250,000 for a good cause in 2009
·      buy one get one bee: a catchy name and a project that helped to introduce over 2 million honeybees into Britain's cities and countryside.
·      taste not waste: a little project to do good with unwanted fruit.

So support innocent in their good work by buying their products!


Ronell x

“If you have love you will do all things well” {Thomas Merton}

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Go Cruelty Free!

Today’s post is about Go Cruelty Free, a website dedicated to giving us every day alternatives to products that have been tested on animals. Statistics indicate that an estimated 19.5 million animals die each year as a result of animal testing in the US alone!

Many of the products on our supermarket shelves, from lipsticks to floor cleaners, have either been tested on animals or contain ingredients that have.
While some products carry labels claiming that their brand is ‘not tested on animals’ or is ‘against animal testing’, these are often confusing and do not guarantee that the product is actually free from animal testing. Only the Leaping Bunny can provide peace of mind.
Products bearing the Leaping Bunny mark are certified ‘cruelty free’ under the internationally-recognised Humane Cosmetics or Humane Household Products Standards.
These rigorous standards stipulate that no animal testing is conducted or commissioned for finished products or ingredients in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories or its suppliers after a fixed cut-off date.
A broad range of personal care, cosmetic and household products carry the Leaping Bunny mark. Using the search tool you can find cruelty-free products such as skin, hair, foot and dental care, fragrances, make-up, nail care, baby care and aromatherapy products, as well as a wide range of household cleaners from dishwasher detergents to disinfectants.
Use this site to:
               Search for cruelty free products:

 Find brands and products that are guaranteed ‘cruelty free’ and carry the Leaping Bunny logo.
               Ask your favourite brands to Go Cruelty Free:
 Find out if your favourite brands are ‘cruelty free’, and if they’re not we’ll help you get in touch with them to find out why not!
               Visit our FAQ section: Learn more about animal testing for cosmetic and household products.
               Get Involved:
 Find out what you can do to go ‘cruelty free’.

You can also help support the work of Go Cruelty Free by donating online or by signing a free Hungersite petition: pledge to shop cruelty free.

Please help to stop animal cruelty and Go Cruelty Free! Remember, you can search for cruelty free suppliers and products online!


Ronell x

“Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals.” {Theodor W. Adorno}

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Boxing Day Sales vs Not for Sale

So today is the day of super sales, where once again we focus on what we want and what we are able to get for our money. Looking back on our actions and purchases today, I ask everyone to do a couple of things: 1.) remember all those who are unable to even afford essentials such as food, housing, clean water and basic medical care, and think about whether you could give some of the money you planned to spend the the sales today and heading into January. And 2.) consider all the people who are enslaved to produce many of the items that are being sold so cheaply at this time of year.

Look back over my previous posts about slavery. Also, have a look at Not For Sale. Not For Sale fights human trafficking and modern-day slavery around the world. Through international work on the ground and in mainstream supply chains, they proactively target the root causes of slavery while engaging and equipping the movement for freedom.
Ronell x
“There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you..” {Deuteronomy 15v4}

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Today, we celebrate the birth of Christ- the gift God sent to the world to save and redeem us. To those of you reading this who are not Christians and feel offended by this statement- I apologise that this causes you offense. To me, this is the greatest and most loving gesture of all and today, more than most other days, I just wanted to express my gratitude for this.

I think today so many of us will have been caught up in tradition, presents and food- LOTS of food! All these things are great and truly enjoyable, but unfortunately, when we become consumed by anything (particularly our own needs and wants), we lose focus on what is truly important… think of all the people today who are alone, or homeless, or without food or material possessions. Even when we consider ourselves to be ‘broke’ or not to have ‘any money’, we are still richer and more fortunate than most.

Today, a group of members from my church (re:generation church) performed an incredible act of service today: they gave up their Christmas day with their own families to cook for and fellowship with people in our church and our community who are homeless or alone on Christmas day.

My challenge to you today is simple: reach out to those around you during this holiday time. If they are homeless, or alone, give them some time, or invite them to fellowship and eat with you. Give them a gift that they need or might just like. Things like, they might not have a coat and you might have a few that you don’t even use.. I don’t know, but look for opportunities to give of yourself to others.

For me, I just feel blessed and grateful to actually have my family around me this year and to have a safe, loving environment, rather than one filled with doubt and conflict.

I hope you’ve all had a very blessed and merry Christmas!


Ronell x

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” {John 3v16}

Monday, 24 December 2012

cbm: Give Joy!

cbm is an international Christian development organization focused on breaking the cycle of disability and poverty. cbm has been shining a light for over 100 years into the darkest corners of our world to change lives.
MISSION - cbm UK is motivated by God's love to break the cycle of poverty and disability. They work together with their British supporters, international Partners and clients – those they serve - to set people free for life.
VISION – cbm aims to become the leading British voice for people with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world. They aim t be known as a learning organisation, committed to excellence in all areas of their work, and an organisation clearly driven by servant-leadership principles.
CORE VALUES - Their core values are based on their Christian faith. cbm desires to demonstrate the love of God and His character in all they do and say.
Through the cbm gift shop, you are able to give life-changing gifts such as sight-saving surgery for a child, or a hearing aid. Change the lives of children and adults with disabilities all over the world, or transform a whole community by giving through cbm.
Ronell x

”I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay: small acts of kindness and love.” {Gandalf}


unseen was established in 2008 after a disturbing visit to Ukraine by its founder.
Whilst working in an orphanage, the question was asked: 'Where do the children go once they leave here?'. The response was both shocking and heart-breaking. It was discovered that many children, once they reach 16 and are ready to leave the orphanage, become involved in crime, gangs, prostitution or will be trafficked.

Here are some Ukraine trafficking statistics (source: 2008)
       80% of all unemployed people in Ukraine are women.
  Ukraine is a source, transit and destination country for trafficked persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
       Up to half a million Ukrainian women have been trapped and enslaved and trafficked into the West.
      Of Ukrainian women who go abroad for a better chance to work, 80% end up working in the sex industry.
   In 2008, Ukraine was one of the largest exporters of women to the international sex industry.

As more extensive research began the founders of unseen realised this was not a problem unique to Ukraine but that, the world over, countries were sending and receiving trafficked people. Even in the UK, women were and still are being bought, sold and traded to be exploited for sexual services.

They were compelled to act, and unseen was formed to help battle this. Their purpose is to work towards the eradication of slavery wherever it is found, providing survivors with safety, hope and choice.

unseen believes that the most effective way of achieving their goal is to tackle the issue holistically and operate in the following three arenas:

1.) Prevention: To support and develop frontline projects that actively seek to help vulnerable people from becoming enslaved both here in the UK as a destination country and in source countries. To raise awareness of human trafficking and deliver training courses to inform and equip people to spot the signs of trafficking and subsequently know how to act. (Training and consultancy)
2.) Survivors support: To initiate and lead projects that will directly help survivors re-establish their lives, begin the process of recovering from the horrific ordeals they have been subjected to and avoid becoming re-enslaved. (Support Services, Projects in development)
3.) Working with others: To work with government at all levels, its agencies, other NGOs and commercial businesses to raise awareness, gather information and act to prevent slavery and support survivors. (Centre for Social Justice, Partnerships)
Donate to unseen to make a difference. Your generous support, fundraising and financial donations mean that they are a step closer to ending modern-day slavery. Your generous support means:
·      unseen can continue to help restore the lives of more women who have been trafficked by providing increased access to the right support services
·      unseen can develop better support and protection for vulnerable children identified as being trafficked
·      unseen can help inform and equip those who encounter potential victims to quickly spot the signs of exploitation and know how to act
·      unseen can continue to influence policy and practices being developed to support survivors of trafficking

You can donate in the following ways (see link for details of each):
·      Donate Directly
·      Donate via PayPal
·      Donate via CAF
·      Donate via JustGiving
·      Donate via Virgin Money Giving
·      Download a Gift aid form or Sponsorship form

Alternatively, unseen has an opportunity to Sponsor a Room. This programme gives you the opportunity to play a direct part in supporting unseen’s work with survivors of human trafficking and, more importantly, provide them with the safety, hope and choice they deserve. Your regular gift will help to provide survivors with 24-hour specialist care and enable them to move forward with their lives.

If you would rather donate goods, why not send a Care Package directly to one of the survivors? It makes such a difference if survivors can receive something of their own, to keep, as the first step in their rehabilitation.


Ronell x

“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” {Mother Teresa}