Delicacies from Pirmasis Blynas, an invitation to the traditional Christmas Eve dinner at the salad bar Mano Guru or a luxury candle created by Vilnius Archdiocese Caritas in collaboration with the famous florist Mantas Petruškevičius – these are all special gifts created by people working in social business enterprises, often people who have a disability or who are thinking about conservation and the preservation of nature. And the money they raise from the sale of the gifts will be used to make even more people working in them feel needed by society.
Gifts can be much more meaningful while contributing to a social or environmental mission. The Lithuanian Social Business Association is organising a virtual Christmas fair, where gifts will surprise and delight loved ones and be much more meaningful for their social mission.
“During this festive season, we suggest looking back to the most important values and invite you to search for more meaningful gifts that not only preserve nature but also give socially excluded people the opportunity to work, to create and to enjoy life. Christmas greetings can be not only warm and cosy but also sustainable and meaningful. You just need to know how to find them. This project is a completely voluntary idea that originated last year when I was looking for gifts with a meaning to make people close to me happy. I didn’t want to buy does not matter what, ”- says Viktorija Bražiūnaitė, the Head of the Lithuanian Social Business Association, about the continuing tradition of organizing Social Business Christmas Market.
So, we invite you to visit the virtual Social Business Christmas Market and choose gifts that look back to people and nature.
Kybartų Skanėstai is a social workshop undertaken by the Kybartai Social Service Centre. Here, people with intellectual and/or mental disabilities bake a variety of delicacies and cook the sweetest jams.
For the participants of the social workshops, these Christmas presents are an opportunity to use their time (currently at home) richly and profitably, granting them an opportunity to work, become full members of society, and fulfil their dreams.
The fourth year of the initiative developed by the public institution Mes Žydim – the plant shelter Gyvybės Langelis – addresses issues of ecological sustainability, draws attention to the social problems of society by collecting unwanted plants from people and placing them in the shelter. In addition, Gyvybės Langelis offers a virtual gift of a plant, allowing one to choose its name and follow its life story. Each gift, i.e. subscribing to a plant’s life newsletter for a friend or relative and giving it a name, becomes visible, a subject of discussion and public in the social space.
The European Citizen Award-winning public institution Socialiniai Paramos Projektai invites you to a traditional Christmas Eve dinner at Mano Guru, a salad bar in Vilnius that has been operating for 17 years. It offers stable employment and a chance to re-enter the labour market for the socially excluded.
TEXTALE, a social business, develops solutions for the circular economy: promoting responsible style, sharing clothes, and reusing, repurposing and recycling textiles.
TEXTALE offers gift vouchers to people who want to gift the following to their loved ones: a year-long membership in repairing, renewing and sharing community, the opportunity to buy one-off, quality handmade sustainable designs, the chance to dress in an original way, to refashion oneself in a new style and without guilt, the choice to reduce one’s own CO2 footprint in fashion, an exciting journey to cultivate sustainable habits, the opportunity to carry on the stories of the things one owns, and the opportunity to save!
By choosing to donate a TEXTALE voucher, you will be supporting small businesses, making the circle of sharing go round, contributing to sustainable fashion education, investing in change and being part of that change yourself.
Miesto Laboratorija is a sustainable and environmentally friendly educational community centre with a café, an open event space, eco-innovations, a hydroponic garden, an educational garden, a gallery and a DIY outdoor playground for children. Miesto Laboratorija offers gift vouchers valid for 12 months. They can be used during Miesto Laboratorija events (brunch or dinner, etc.).
Miesto Laboratorija also offers organic certified cotton sweatshirts and t-shirts. This project with Antakalnis-based graphic designer Bernardas Burba (Bernardo Dailė) is dedicated to Antakalnis and the people who love it. The three original drawings by Bernardas Burba, created especially for this project, depict the unique hilly and wooded panorama of Antakalnis as seen from the other side of the Neris River, the Antakalnis Mammoth in Smėlio Street (in 1957, the bones of a mammoth that lived almost 14,000 years ago were actually found in this street), and brunch in Miesto Laboratorija, the favourite place for the people of Antakalnis, and for the citizens of the city, under the old maple trees of Sapiegų Park. The drawings are printed on certified organic cotton sweatshirts and T-shirts.
Pirmas Blynas is a pancake restaurant integrating people with intellectual disabilities into society and the labour market. Here you can buy gift boxes with a story. It is a joint project of Pirmas Blynas and five other organisations from four Lithuanian cities. “It aims to show that people with disabilities create and produce quality products. By purchasing these gift boxes, you will contribute to the creation of jobs and meaningful activities for people with disabilities across Lithuania, because every product in them has been made and carefully selected by people with disabilities,” said the creators.
The gift sets have been prepared in cooperation with the Lithuanian Society for Special Creativity “Guboja,” the Centre for Persons with Disabilities “Korys,” the Day Centre “Šviesa,” the Day Centre “Mes Esame” and the Trakai Employment Centre for the Disabled.
Vilnius Archdiocese Caritas has luxury candles on offer, which were created for charity together with Mantas Petruškevičius, a well-known florist. “Charity projects have always been important to me. So I wanted to challenge myself – how much and what I can contribute. Caritas is well-known around the world for its work, so I chose to work with an organisation with a long tradition of support. And I am very happy with the overall result,” says Petruškevičius. All funds raised will go to support the people working in the VA Caritas candle workshops.
Atvira Bendruomenė – Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis Social Centre meets people with intellectual disabilities. Working together, helping each other and making friends, they create everyday life that is more accepting and open.
Atvira Bendruomenė offers gifts that are beautiful and carry a social message. These are handmade products: notebooks, calendars, postcards made using the motifs of the drawings made by the visitors of social workshops for people with intellectual disabilities. The kits were put together in collaboration with other similar social workshops and family businesses. So, by buying these kits, you will be contributing to a socially responsible society by showing others that the work of people with disabilities is valuable, useful and necessary.
Parduotuve.neregiai.lt is an online shop for people with visual impairments, united by the South-West Centre of the Lithuanian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted, which is a non-profit organisation. All products are handmade with great love and warmth.
“These are not just objects. It is an emotion, a phenomenon, a feeling. It is hard to put into words what you feel when you touch the products made by hands that do not see with their eyes, but with a heart that sees. A scarf, a Christmas toy, a card, a painted picture or any other item radiates warmth and light. Look around and find a product that is dear to your heart and that you love,” the creators invite you to buy meaningful gifts.
Happimess, a charity initiative, has prepared a two-in-one offer: gifts that give. So when you greet your friends, clients, colleagues or their children at Christmas, you will be giving hope and faith for a better tomorrow, a brighter household and better health to the families in our care and their seriously ill children. Each gift will come with a message about the good deeds you are doing.
The Betzata Community Treasure Workshop is a place where beautiful things are born out of community and cooperation. Here, people with intellectual disabilities, with the help of a professional craftsman, staff and volunteers, make a variety of wooden products. The products are intended for everyone who loves wood and for all those who want to contribute to meaningful employment and the development of working skills for people with disabilities.
The photo album “100 Years Together” features the memories and experiences of 37 Lithuanian centenarians (people born in 1918 and earlier, direct witnesses of the restoration of the independent state of Lithuania), from different professions, nationalities, and social-cultural backgrounds. The authentic stories of centenarians reveal how important events for the state of Lithuania have changed the destinies of its people, how we, the people of Lithuania, have changed together with Lithuania over the last century. This album is like a journey through the recesses of the memory of ordinary Lithuanian people, a retrospective look at the experiences of centenarians, reflecting the totality of the country’s historical development.
“100 Years Together” is an artistic visualisation project implemented in 2017-2018 by the M. Čiuželis Charity and Support Foundation in cooperation with photographer M. Požerskytė and the film production company UAB Artbox, which uses photographs and documentary film footage to tell the memories, experiences, and life stories of the contemporaries of the Republic of Lithuania and their relatives.
ETIAM’s Christmas gifts are meaningful and sustainable discoveries. For example, Water-alkalising water glasses will help you maintain fluid balance and give you more energy, STOJO foldable cups will save you a mountain of disposable cups, and NUUD natural deodorant will give you long-lasting protection while letting your body breathe. And your hands will stay warm all the way to spring with KK Fashion’s wool gloves.
Žalia Krautuvėlė sends a Green Message and invites you to give back to the Earth by adopting sustainable habits – using reusable bags and other environmentally friendly items, discovering the beauty and meaning of travel textiles, gathering green peers, and inspiring inspiration people to live a more sustainable life.
All the Žalia Krautuvėlė gifts are sustainable – reusable bags made from recycled textiles, local creators’ sustainable products, and durable and environmentally friendly items from international manufacturers. These gifts encourage a change in habits, reduce plastic pollution and raise awareness of the consequences of disposable culture.
Tėviškės Namų Krautuvėlė is a young social business. It is a health food shop with tasty and natural food for all those who are interested in healthy eating and natural and organic products. The shop offers a wide range of food grown and produced by trusted producers in Lithuania and the EU, mainly from small, natural, organic farms.
Skepetėlė are reusable, multifunctional cloths made in Lithuania according to the Japanese furoshiki. A light, convenient and simple way to wrap gifts in different shapes.
Skepetėlė offers a more sustainable gift-wrapping option as it is designed to be used multiple times. Once you have given the gift, return or donate the cloth to ensure that it continues to be useful. The clothes are not made from custom fabrics but from unused fabric leftovers from sewing factories, saving textile waste. Skepetėlė is a handy item even when there is no celebration to attend. It can be used instead of a shopping bag to decorate the house, protect things from dust and much more.
Laura Petruškė is an architect, educator and developer whose work revolves around architecture, secondary design, communities and creative placemaking. You can buy or order original backpacks, handbags, and totes made from plastic bags and fruit nets in the virtual fair.
Find the Virtual Social Business Christmas Market: www.socialinis-verslas.lt