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Pick up a handmade village craft in your local store and you may be rewarded with a warm fuzzy feeling that you’ve helped a poor villager in a remote location. After all, you’ve created demand for his craft. Surely, he’ll be rewarded accordingly.

“¦Right?

Look a little closer and you’ll see a very different story.

How much of the money you spend really makes it to the maker or artisan who created the item? Let’s see – the store will take a cut, so will the wholesaler, and don’t forget the agents who source the crafts directly from the villages. In the end, the maker – arguably the most important person in this process is left with next to nothing, sometimes getting under 10% of the final sale price.

Elevyn changes all that.

Through the help of local partners, Elevyn helps to connect poor artisans and villagers directly to customers around the world. The result? By cutting out all the middle men and their bottom lines, the maker now gets close to 85% of the final sale price.

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You may have heard of Etsy, a community specialized in selling hand-made items directly on the internet. Think of Elevyn as Etsy for the poor. Elevyn stocks everything from belts, baskets, and jewelry to coasters, music instruments, and key chains. All beautifully handcrafted by village artisans.

Sustainable Development

Both Kiva and Elevyn works on the basis of sustainable charity i.e. engaging in charitable activities which help these people lift themselves out from poverty in the long run.

Kiva works on the basis of microloans helping small business owners in poor countries. Elevyn picks up where Kiva leaves off by connecting these people to the world and giving them a pool of demand which would otherwise have never existed for these villagers.

Engaging the community

On top of direct contributions to the maker, a certain portion (around 5%) is also donated to a charitable cause, ranging from tree planting to women’s groups.

Elevyn also organizes artisans so they can get together to achieve greater economies of scale and specialization as well as raise awareness about the value of the goods they produce. Working with field partners to help out with the orders and dealings on the internet, Elevyn is also committed to capacity building in terms of electricity and internet access via satellite in these villages.

Yes you can make a difference

People get jaded when the money they donate goes into a giant fund, never knowing who they helped and what their impact truly was.  Elevyn offers complete transparency where you will be able to see where all the money goes to the exact cent when you make a purchase. You will also be able to see how much money any particular villager has made in real time, and the impact your purchase had on their life.

Thinking of giving someone a truly meaningful gift for the holidays? I can’t think of a better place to start.

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