Tingomo is a social enterprise using traditional, artisan crafts from around the world to teach kids about other cultures. The hands-on activities and engaging guide booklets in their craft kits were created to bridge cultural differences and instill in children empathy and respect for other countries, all while donating back to nonprofit partners in the same country the craft is from.
The idea for Tingomo started simply as a way to teach people about world cultures. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, founder Amanda Reid first conceptualized the idea while teaching her daughter and her classmates about Morocco. Of all the activities they did, the one the kids loved the most was the mosaic tile craft. That’s when the connection was made that traditional crafts could inspire appreciation for all cultures and provide a platform to give back.
In each of Tingomo’s Passport Craft Kits, you receive high-quality materials and easy-to-follow instructions to make a beautiful craft from another country. The kits, offered individually or as a quarterly subscription, come equipped with a guide booklet teaching kids about the culture and a Tingomo Passport where you can collect stamps from each country. For each kit sold, they make a donation to a non-profit that supports artisans, keeps vulnerable families together or educates girls — meaning you can make your own art and know you’re making a difference with your purchase.
We often get asked what Tingomo means – it comes from the Nepali word for three, ‘tin,’ and part of the Zulu word for goal, ‘umgomo.’ Our three goals are to share world cultures, promote creativity, and to care for people and the planet.
Sales of the kit allow Tingomo to support Maiti Nepal, an organization that prevents girls from being trafficked and gives them job training, including handicrafts skills. They also work to give away class packs to teachers. The social enterprise strives to make learning about others accessible and fun. They spend a lot of time learning about traditional artisan techniques and adapting them to make it easy for first-timers, and seeking out the best sustainable and affordable materials.
Tingomo takes pride in finding ways to go beyond their give back model to have a positive impact. Passport Craft Kits are packaged in 100% recycled cardboard, with guide booklets printed on 100% recycled paper, using local, eco-friendly printing. Their Nepal Paper Flags come with fair trade Lokta paper that is tree-free, sustainably harvested in the Himalayas and provides an important source of income for women in the mountains of Nepal.
The social enterprise joined SEA within a few months of just starting out for the community and opportunities provided. “We are based in Vermont and Los Angeles, so we love having a national organization, as well as an LA chapter. We work with fellow members, like Chrysalis…as our staffing agency…They send us motivated, focused workers who help us prep and pack our kits, and we love meeting fellow Angelenos and providing them an opportunity to work.”
To learn more about Tingomo, LLC, check out their member directory profile.