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Dec 21, 2012 >> Gift Guide: Nche Onyema

Nche Onyema’s work with the GEANCO Foundation is inspiring—the organization helps improve and transform the lives of Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Because of Nche’s giving side, we asked her what was on her holiday wish list that also have a conscious. From donations to her favorite charities to the best darn daytime blazer you’ll ever find, Nche’s gift guide doesn’t lack sentiment or style.

Nche shares gifts that give back below:


Loving Africa promotes the work of emerging, underrepresented South African artists by showcasing their creations on the internet. Some of the most complemented, ‘where did you get that’ pieces I own have come from my travels abroad and supporting artists whose exquisite handwork usually doesn’t  go past peddling at the local food market or coops in remote areas. I love that Loving Africa brings their amazing work to mainstream markets. [PICTURED BEVERLY PRICE POP-ART NECKLACE]

A gift for little ones that gives back to little ones. Egg by Susan Lazar has created a special line of tee shirts to benefit The Stephen D. Hassenfeld Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, an outpatient treatment facility for childhood cancers and blood disorders.  The Hassenfeld Center provides treatment to patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Each FEED 2 Kenya Bag is handcrafted in Kenya by a co-op of women and deaf Kenyans. Not only do the Feed 2 bags support Kenyan artisans, but the donation also provides school meals to two children in Kenya for one year. This bag is a fashion statement that automatically sparks conversation around a necessary topic.

Cuyana’s locally-sourced materials are transformed into gifts with a soul and a story. Cuyana also donates a portion of its profits to charity: water. Give the gift of these limited edition bags, also means giving access to clean water that could save the millions of lives lost from water-borne diseases, billions of hours searching for clean water, increase school attendance, and dramatically improve local economies.

With the purchase of every blazer, Two Penny Blue donates a school uniform to a girl in need in Africa. Although the schooling is often free, millions of girls are unable to go simply because they cannot afford the uniform.  I love that the company’s Two Penny Blue name, referencing one of the world’s first adhesive postage stamps, honors ‘girl power.’ Featuring Queen Victoria, the stamp celebrates women in power and symbolizes education and democracy.

Malaika is working to end malaria one bracelet at a time. Each purchase helps deliver lifesaving malaria medicine to a child or mother in need while also providing an income for the women makers of these bracelets. A holiday gift that can do all of that and fit in a stocking…sign me up for at least one for everyone, please.

But the list goes on. Nche shares more of her favorite causes below:

The GEANCO Foundation
GEANCO’s mission is to transform the lives of Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable people. A donation to GEANCO supports life-altering medical missions and the development of a world-class hospital in Nigeria.  The Economist recently designated Nigeria “the worst country for a baby to be born in 2013.”  Gift recipients will be delivering health and hope to a region of the world in desperate need of both.  They can proudly proclaim, “I am building a hospital!”

PUNJAMMIES are created in after-care facilities for women who have been rescued, released or escaped from a life of forced prostitution. A simple thing like making pajamas gives these women access to quality medical care, emotional safety, education along with the tools and community to create a new way of living. Not only are PUNJAMMIES stylish, each pair tells the story of a woman who was once voiceless.

Max The Shelter Dog
My dogs weren’t ones to take wearing a Santa hat sitting down, but they were a part of some of my best memories growing up. I encourage anyone who’s able, to adopt a pet. This children’s book inspires its readers to adopt from shelters, empowers children to succeed, and teaches audiences young and old about animal compassion.

Charitybuzz is the answer to the question, “What do I get the person I can’t possibly put into words how much they mean to?” Hmm, how about personal passing lessons from an NFL star quarterback or a meeting with Clive Davis where he listens to your demo.  The best part, all of the proceeds from this online auction site goes to charity. With auction items like drinks with Manolo Blahnik and custom designed shoes Charitybuzz is also the perfect place to shop for yourself before you step into the New Year.

The Heifer International
The usual Christmas Shopping Checklist: a tie, latest tech gadget, a cow, a doll, a sweater. A cow? Heifer International gives out gifts of livestock and extensive training to those in need. Heifer’s animals provide a source of food, reliable income, and a sense of community. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Each participating family is required to “Pass on the Gift,” and give at least one of the female offspring to a neighbor who has undergone Heifer’s training.

ONEHOPE Wine donates an astonishing 50% of its profits to partner charities benefiting a variety of causes. To put it into perspective, if just one in four, out of the estimated 19.5 million women who are or will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. received one bottle of our ONEHOPE Chardonnay every month for one year,ONEHOPE Wine could raise $70 million dollars for breast cancer research. I say, let’s pop the cork this New Year’s eve with ONEHOPE’s California Brut Sparkling Wine!