5 Socially Innovative Gifts That Give Back

Lesley Teoh

Struggling to find some unique gadgets or tech gifts for your geeky friends? Check out these cool products like a saltwater powered lamp that charges your phone! Better still, for each product you buy, one will be given to communities in need. 

1. A colour-changing solar lantern to brighten someone’s day

LuminAID Packlite Spectra

[Image Source: Luminaid]

As part of their Give Light, Get Light projects, Luminaid has distributed over 25,000 solar lights in over 60 countries. Their lights are safe and rechargeable, making light accessible to the 1.6 billion people around the world lack proper access to electricity and are forced to rely on toxic and dangerous kerosene lamps. Buy a light for yourself, and sponsor a light to be distributed by one of Luminaid’s charitable partners to someone in need. They’re easily inflatable, compact, waterproof and float on water, making them great for pool parties!

We’re huge fans of the PackLite Spectra colour-changing solar lantern which features nine different light colours! It features include 9 light modes, including 7 solid colors, white, and a rainbow fade. Just charge them for 10 hours in the sun and they’ll last for 8-12 hours.

2. Give the gift of home this holiday season by supporting WeatherHYDE

WeatherHYDE was invented by billionBricks, a Singaporean social enterprise that seeks to end homelessness for over one billion people who lack access to housing. WeatherHYDE is a life-saving, fully insulated and lightweight emergency shelter designed to protect the homeless and vulnerable from extreme weather conditions. It’s the only reversible tent that easily adapts to any temperature, effectively protecting users from hot summers and frigid winters. What’s more, it is easy to set up – a single person can install it within 15 minutes with no tools –  and does not require anchoring.

WeatherHYDE is offering a range of rewards as part of their Kickstarter campaign. You can get your very own tent – they’re perfect for camping trips, or sponsor one for families in need of shelter.

3. A saltwater-powered lamp that charges your smartphone

SALt solar lamp phone charger

[Image Source: SALt]

Inspired by an experiment during her high school chemistry class, Aisa Mijeno developed the SALt lamp – a sustainable and affordable lamp to help rural communities in the Philippines, as well as those affected by natural disasters. Simply dissolve two teaspoons of salt in a glass of water to power the lamp and charge your phone with a standard USB cable. Since its powered by saline water, these LED lamps emits no harmful gases and are environmentally friendly.

SALt also runs several social programmes to help send their lamps to needy communities in the Philippines. Visit their website to find out how you can get involved.  

4. Give a man a fish and help eradicate anaemia in developing countries

[Image Source: Lucky Iron Fish]

Lucky Iron Fish is a simple solution that shows that social innovations come in all forms, shapes and sizes. It was invented to combat anaemia and iron deficiency, which affects over 3.5 billion people worldwide. The fish should be boiled for ten minutes in a litre of water or soup and 2-3 drops of lemon juice to ensure the optimal amount of iron is released. You can buy one for yourself and Lucky Iron Fish will give one to a family in need.

5. Give a child light with TOMS for Apple Watch bands

[Image Source: TOMS]

A perfect gift for your techy friends, TOMS for Apple Watch bands feature a gold embossed TOMs logo and are made of genuine leather and stainless steel. They’re not just beautifully crafted, they also provide one year of solar light for children in need through their giving partners - SolarAid and Solar Sister. Having a solar light at home allows children to study for an extra hour each day. 

Interested in socially conscious living in Asia? Check out Asia For Good's social enterprise directory.


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