Yes, it’s time to look back, so I’m looking at the best shopping finds in 2012, a list topped by the beautiful quilts of Mekong Quilts.

I visited their shop in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a cool, quiet space hung with handmade quilts made in the poorest villages in Cambodia and Vietnam.

The organisation is not-for-profit, and says 50 cents from every dollar spent in its shops provides books and scholarships for school children, and promote health and quality-of-life initiatives amongst what they describe as ‘the poorest of the poor’ through the NGO Mekong Plus, which started in 2001.

The group employs around 300 women in rural Vietnam and the Svay Rieng province of Cambodia to stitch the quilts, and now also to make baskets and other household products. Naturally, all are absolutely beautiful, and well worth the money.

The helpful girls in the shop wrapped my quilt in strong plastic so I could stash it as checked-in luggage, and it was almost as light as a feather.

My ABC quilt, which fits a baby’s cot, cost 1,155,000 Vietnamese dong (about A$50), a beautiful investment in every sense.

Mekong Quilts Hanoi
13 Hang Bac str, Hanoi, Vietnam
Also found in Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84-4-3926 4831