We’re excited to feature the final installment of our “Own Your Story” series from the SITTI Box!
Beginning in August, Sitti is featuring seven lifestyle brands that focus on inclusivity and representation in our ongoing blog series titled, "Own Your Story". This time, the “Own Your Story” series is elevating the stories of the seven brands featured in SITTI’s All-Inclusive Box.
Each quarter of the year, we get to know the brands in our box, while learning priceless lessons and advice from their shared experiences. We talk about where the idea for their brand came from, and what’s made their journey unique. Every brand adds something special to make up our All-Inclusive Box; a box centered around representation and inclusivity. To learn more about our other brands featured in our Boxes, click here.
Introducing: The United Nations Refugee Agency - UNHCR Canada
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the world’s leading organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. On the ground in more than 130 countries, UNHCR works to ensure everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home. We are proud to have partnered with UNHCR Canada, which is based out of Toronto, Ontario.
Launched to commemorate UNHCR’s 70th anniversary, UNHCR Canada’s first-ever cookbook “Tastes From Home: Recipes from the Refugee Community” features more than 100 pages of beautiful photography, stories, and recipes from 14 refugees who have resettled in Canada. Participants are based in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, and originate from countries spanning the globe including Syria, Yemen, Eritrea, Somalia, and Hong Kong. “Tastes From Home” is a delicious way to experience the incredible stories of perseverance and resilience and the rich, vibrant cultures of an extraordinary group of individuals who now call Canada home.
Creating or sharing a meal represents more than just nourishment: it symbolizes sharing of tradition, and culture and creating treasured memories over family dinners, festive gatherings, and other important occasions. Food is a truly unifying thread that connects us all.
Image provided by UNHCR
How they came to be
UNHCR was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1950 during the aftermath of the Second World War, to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes. UNHCR had three years to complete our work and then disband.
Together with the support of government and humanitarian partners, UNHCR seeks to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, with the option to eventually return home, integrate or resettle.
During times of displacement, we provide critical emergency assistance in the form of clean water, sanitation, and health care, as well as shelter, blankets, household goods, and sometimes food. We also arrange transport and assistance packages for people who return home, and income-generating projects for those who resettle.
Today, over 70 years later, our organization is still hard at work, protecting and assisting refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced and stateless people around the world.
Importance of Inclusivity and Representation
“Tastes from Home” is an apt example of how representation plays a role in our work, by featuring the creativity, recipes, and stories of people from around the world, hailing from a wide variety of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. -UNHCR
Images provided by UNHCR
"Inclusivity is in many ways a core principle of the work UNHCR does around the world, as it guides us in striving to ensure that everyone’s rights, safety, and dignity are honored and upheld. On an institutional level, inclusivity means that we respond to the needs of displaced people no matter where they are or what crisis they may be facing, regardless of their nationality, religion, sexuality and gender, age, or physical and mental ability. In “Tastes from Home, ”inclusivity is reflected through the diversity and breadth of testimonies shared, and in its call to empathy, understanding, and community through shared stories and recipes.
Though we are not created or run by a singular individual who is a member of a Black, Indigenous (and) people of color (BIPOC) community, many employees and volunteers with UNHCR are members of BIPOC communities and, by the very nature of our global work, many of the people we aid and support are members of these communities. As an organization that responds to crises around the world, we work with and support people regardless of their race, ethnicity, or faith. Our multi-national structure also means that many local offices around the world are staffed and run by members of BIPOC communities.
As an organization, UNHCR has always worked to combat the societal and individual fear or disdain of the “other.” Working with governmental and non-government agencies throughout active crises carries a number of difficulties, especially if there is a lack of awareness and cultural empathy or literacy. This is why a project like “Tastes from Home” is so vital because it seeks to bridge cultural gaps and invites people to become more familiar with different cultures in a fun and communal way."
We asked: What other brands do you admire or look up to? Why?
Their answer: "UNHCR Canada has great working relationships with many partners; however, one such brand/institution that we would like to highlight is Peace Collective. The Toronto-based clothing brand and retailer has generously created a number of product lines that help support UNHCR’s work with refugees and displaced people. Since beginning their numerous campaigns which direct percentages of their revenue towards UNHCR and a number of other organizations, tackling issues like climate change and mental health, they have donated over $166,000 in support of various causes."
Original Image provided by UNHCR
To show your support for UNHCR, follow them on Instagram.
The Sitti Box is a quarterly box packed with value and impact, delivered directly to your door. Each quarterly box highlights the stories and impact of the products inside. This is the last edition of the Sitti Box for the time being, please enjoy these amazing products and share the experience.
SHOP THE BLOG