While the world is knee deep in rose petals and caramels on Feb 14th, take the opportunity to do something a little different: show your girlfriends how much you love them. We’ve rounded up a few charitable gift ideas that benefit women all around the world. There’s nothing wrong with bon bons, we just have a feeling your righteous lady friends will appreciate these a little more than flowers and candy.

Me to We Share the Love Jewellery
“Me to We Artisans” is a lineup of accessories handmade by women in Free the Children countries around the world, and they just launched a limited edition Share the Love collection for Valentine’s day 2012. Each piece is a connection (or opportunity to spread some love) between you and the artisan, who uses sustainably produced, local materials. The communities Me to We gives back to make sure artists earn a source of income so they can send their kids to school, support their families, and have food, water and healthcare. We dig the antiquey, 19 string Turkana Earth Pamoja love bracelet. Love-rly!

Inspirations Studios
This craft collective on Queen West offers support to under-housed or homeless women though their pottery and craft making programs. Offering a chance to partake of a meaningful economic activity and gain artistic skills has made a big difference in the community since the studio opened in 1994. Stop by and see the selection of comforting earthenware mugs, wall decals and clay dishes. Fill ‘em with fair trade chocolate for a sweet winter gift pack!

Toronto Women’s Bookstore Goodies
Toronto’s non-profit feminist bookstore is dedicated to showcasing the intelligent, artistic and awesome girl power in our city. Featuring books by women writers, the TWB strives to be a resource and community hub for information, events and feminist action. If you have a gal who  lives for queer theory or feminist poetry, this is the place to come to a one of a kind V-day gift. Or, put together your own gift basket mix of feminist zines (Bust, Shameless, and Gloria Steinem’s Ms., perhaps?)

Moleskine’s “Women Create Life” Notebook
Everyone’s favourite multi-occasion journal dealer, Moleskine, has just teamed up with Women Create Life to make a limited edition notebook to raise funds for at risk women across the world. It’s a plain journal including a story-filled booklet and pop-art style portraits of women across the world.

Women Create Life got together in response to the last G8 summit’s goal to improve maternal health worldwide through innovative approaches. Hence, they merge art and design and consumer markets to do just that. The Moleskine notebook is just one example of all the artsy stuff they have up for grabs, so if Moleskine’s aren’t your thing, take a look at the paintings, clothing, and housewares on their site. They all celebrate the women who generate the conditions that promote life in their communities.

~ Kait Fowlie | Photos Frank Peters and Oh Estelle via Flickr