A lot of items can spark conversation, be it an eye-catching coffee-table book, an oil painting, or even an old box of pencils. But then there are the few that spark conversation about change. In honor of World Refugee Day (today!), Etsy is giving back to those who have had to flee their homes due to violence, conflict, and poverty by expanding its Uplift Makers Program. The new drop, the Afghan Refugees Collective, consists of more than 20 newly opened shops, all run by now U.S.-based artisans.

Alongside its nonprofit partner, Nest, the Etsy program waives startup fees and ensures that the mostly female artisans have access to anything their storefront needs while getting back on their feet. (Many of these creators will be earning their first paychecks, helping them to establish a better economic future for themselves and their families.) To gain back a piece of home, the makers are infusing their goods with techniques many of them learned as children, as seen in this hand-embroidered throw pillow cover by Qadieri Designs and this beaded bracelet cuff by Safaparwani. 

Courtesy of Etsy

It’s impossible to choose a favorite among the intricately beautiful pieces, but right now we’re eyeing all of the tabletop accessories. Sosan Designs sells napkins with stunning yet subtle crocheting around the borders, while Asila Design is creating placemats with floral motifs worthy of any summer soiree. Whether you choose linens with delicately embroidered edging or a forest green hand-fringed table runner, your guests are sure to talk about more than just their upcoming weekend plans. 


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