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Badin Hall’s Conscious Christmas supports artisans in Nepal

| Friday, December 6, 2019

Notre Dame students looking for last-minute holiday shopping can rest easy this weekend.

On Friday, Badin Hall will be hosting Conscious Christmas, an annual event featuring the sale of crafts handmade by women across the globe seeking to support and provide for their families. Proceeds will support the HOPE initiative, a charity Badin has adopted over the years.

Courtesy of Paige Smith

Paige Smith and others visited the Association for Craft Producers in Nepal, where they watched artisans make goods by hand.

Volunteering Badin residents will sell scarves, hats, tote bags, jewelry, ornaments, baskets, Nativity sets and other gifts from 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the LaFortune Ballroom. Nearly all of the goods for sale were produced by fair trade artisans in Nepal.

Proceeds go right back into projects that serve the artisans’ communities, said Ann-Marie Conrado, anthropology professor and founder of the HOPE initiative.

“You’re using your purchasing power to make a difference in their lives by ensuring they receive a living wage, that those products are made with respect for people and their heritage, but also the planet,” Conrado said.

Conscious Christmas helps communities in Nepal provide scholarships and have more accessible education in rural areas, Conrado said. It can also contribute funds for a small home for children who have been orphaned.

Senior Paige Smith has seen the impact the HOPE initiative has on communities in Nepal firsthand. After initially finding out about the HOPE Initiative by volunteering at Conscious Christmas as a former Badin resident, last summer she went a step further by visiting Nepal through an International Summer Service Learning Program. While there, she worked with a fair-trade organization that makes homemade crafts and home decor, some of which are sold at Notre Dame.

In working with the Association for Craft Producers, Smith said she learned how the artisans make the products by hand.

“[I felt fulfillment from] helping places from afar from campus,” Smith said. “[And then from] having opportunities to then go to these places and unite academics with community and service.”

Conrado said she believes Conscious Christmas showcases the best of what Nepal can produce.

“When you give that gift, you can show care to not only the person you give it to but for all the people that brought that gift to life,” Conrado said. “The quality of the products is inherently beautiful because they’re all handmade and not printed and stamped off a machine.”

The annual event also supports products that are made ethically and do not contribute to environmental degradation, she said.

“In a time of environmental crisis, we can choose where we put our resources and the choices that we make can have an impact in an incredibly powerful way,” Conrado said.

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