To Our Community, With Love

Last Updated: 17 March 2020

In light of developments with COVID-19 and the uncertainty surrounding the current pandemic, we want to inform you of updates related to our operations and the steps we’re taking with the safety and well-being of our employees, customers and community in-mind. 

Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Sitti workshop and the Hopes-Sitti Centre facility in Jerash Camp in Jordan will be closed and all programming will be suspended through the end of April. All non-vital employees have been instructed to stay home. All Sitti employees will continue to receive their regular pay for the current pay period.    

Our online operations will continue until further notice. Our dedicated team that fulfills your orders is taking every precaution to ensure that products are handled with care. Sitti has implemented additional precautionary measures and environmental cleaning procedures throughout our facilities in Jerash Refugee Camp and in Canada. As a result, orders may be slower to ship. Maintaining continuity of orders through our website will make it possible for us to continue to support the artisans of Sitti through long-term sustainable employment. 

We are adapting our operations so that we can continue to support the refugee community we work with in Jordan, without compromising the health and safety of those who are most vulnerable in Jerash Camp.

With all of this in mind, our team is working tirelessly on an initiative to provide soap and hand-washing materials to our community in Jerash Camp. We will keep you updated on this initiative as we develop the most effective approach that also ensures the safety and security of our team and community members. 

Our statement today reflects the situation as it currently stands. That being said, this is a rapidly evolving situation and we will continue to evaluate the best course of action and update our community with the latest information as it becomes available. 

Sitti is a social enterprise whose mission is to combat employment inequality for women in refugee communities through education, employment and empowerment. As always, we continue to operate with the knowledge that our actions today will decide the future of our global community tomorrow.

Thank you for standing with Sitti and refugee communities around the world during these uncertain times. 

Stay safe and be kind,

Jackie + Noora 


The Importance of Hand Washing (Stay Calm and Wash Your Hands)

Hand washing is essential. All employees at Sitti are required to wash their hands with soap and water upon entering and exiting our facilities in Jerash Camp. We’re fortunate to always have a large stock of soap available to us, and we use it as an opportunity to educate our community about the importance of hand-washing. In the wake of a pandemic that begs all people to wash their hands and surfaces as thoroughly and often as possible, we believe it’s important to provide additional education surrounding the importance of hand washing with soap, versus other disinfectant products. 


Why is hand washing with soap so important in fighting the coronavirus...or any virus?

A virus is partly made up of a fatty bilayer. Soap dissolves this fatty membrane that surrounds the virus, allowing it to collapse and become inactive. 

 Soap is a superhero, essentially. It breaks apart the “velcro-like interactions” that hold the proteins, lipids, and RNA in the virus together. It destroys the building blocks of the virus and renders it inoperable. 

Image credit: Jonathan Corum and Ferris Jabr for New York Times

What’s the difference between soap and other alcohol-based “disinfectant” products?

Alcohol-based disinfectant products require you to use a lot to have a fighting chance at removing the virus from your hands and body. However, only a small amount of soapy water is required to rub and cover your entire hand and body in order to deactivate the virus and remove it from the surface of your skin.

“You can’t, for any price, get a drug for the coronavirus - but your grandmother’s bar of soap kills it.” - Pall Thordarson, professor of chemistry, University of New South Wales, Sydney

If it’s necessary for me to travel/leave my home, how can I stay safe and healthy on-the-go?

We strongly encourage all people to follow the WHO and CDC guidelines for social-distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, as well as travel limitations enacted by their local and regional governments. That being said, if travel is absolutely required of you, there are some things you can do to be prepared…

  • Keep a bar of soap and a water bottle in your purse or backpack in the event you must leave your home/place of self-isolation. 
  • Store a bar of soap and a water bottle in your car.
  • Do NOT touch your face. 
  • Washing your hands with soap and water when exiting and re-entering any public space where you have touched surfaces or come in contact with others.
  • Wash all door knobs and hard surfaces you have touched upon re-entering your home.  
  • Discard your clothes in a separate area of the house/designated hamper at the end of the day. 
  • DO NOT shake your dirty laundry before washing. Place them gently in the washing machine or tub. Wash your clothes with soapy water.
  • Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water after handling dirty laundry.

Additional Resources for Up-to-Date Information: 

Sitti will continue to update this list as additional, fact-based resources become available. 

World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean 

Jordanian Ministry of Health (MOH) 

111 - Dial “111” on your phone to access a FREE HOTLINE for all people within Jordan’s borders. The hotline has been organized by The Jordanian Ministry of Health (MOH) and to provide accurate and up-to-date information and assistance to all those in Jordan who have questions related to the coronavirus. If you are experiencing symptoms, or need to know more about the current situation, please call this number.  has created a COVID-19 dedicated site as a free and reliable resource on the pandemic for Arabic-speaking communities in the Middle East. 

United States Embassy in Jordan  has a dedicated COVID-19 webpage. Please reference this page for up-to-date travel information and restrictions related to entering/exiting Jordan as a U.S. citizen. 

This is the Canadian Embassy’s website, where you can find up-to-date travel information and restrictions related to entering/exiting Jordan as a Canadian citizen.

"Why soap is preferable to bleach in the fight against the coronavirus." - National Geographic, by Sarah Gibbens 

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