Sips with Sitti: S1 E3: "Resilience in the Face of it All"
“We want to give people an understanding of what is going on beyond their silos on social media. At the end of the day, it is human lives being impacted here. Imagine your grandmother or grandfather in this position, there is no getting out. You cannot flee. You know there is a big difference with the refugee community in Gaza compared to refugee communities in other parts of the world. It’s not like other places where you pack your things and go. You sit there and pray you’re alive the next day” - Jackie (Examining crisis of Israeli-Palestinian violence)
“We believe in every refugee’s right to return. But when we are looking at the long standing crisis and the long standing refugee situation, we have to look for creative alternative solutions for these communities. We can’t just say, ‘Let’s continue to keep aid running.’ While yes, aid needs to keep running because it is an international obligation to these communities, we as the private sector come in and ask, ‘How can we work with these skilled individuals and create new opportunities for them at the same time?’ - Noora (Discussing what types of support are needed to enhance refugee self-reliance for protracted periods of time while living in a host country.)
“We have a global social responsibility to solve these issues. The [average time for] a refugee [in a camp] is a little over 25 years. So what does that say about where they stand? Do they just sit in the camp for a quarter of a decade or more? Not every refugee has the privilege to resettle or migrate outside of their current situation. This reminds us as a brand on a daily basis why we do what we do and at the capacity we do it at.” - Noora (Q: Why is our work important?)
“Self-reliance is the social and economic ability of an individual, of a household, and of a community to meet its essential needs and do it in a sustainable way.” - Jackie, quoting the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative (Q: What is self-reliance?)
“Our annual subscription box is probably some of the most long term impact you can have. At the end of the day, it [enhances] self-reliance.” - Jackie (Q: In what ways can someone positively impact the refugee community right now?)
“I cannot even count the amount of hiccups we have had from boxes turning out the wrong color (significantly wrong), to issues with production, delays in shipment due to COVID-19 pandemic, and our site crashing before our launch. We had to make another in 48 hours!” - Noora (Q: What have been some challenges in launching the subscription box?)
“[The] social enterprise model looks at existing problems and tries to offer alternative solutions to these communities that are skilled and have the capacity to sustain themselves, but maybe have not been given a fair opportunity to do so. So, that is where Sitti comes in. We identify that there is an issue of poverty and we provide long term income. They become part of our very structure. Women are given a salary whether we sell a bar of soap or not. So we are creating a long term solution for them. Despite how we do, they have something to rely on.” - Noora (Q: What exactly is a social enterprise and how does it work?)
Don’t forget to check out the resources below for ways to #DoYourPart
Watch full episode here.
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