Canadian government grant supports local refugee employment through small business growth
TORONTO, ON. (June 16, 2021) - World Refugee Day (WFD) is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. WFD is also an occasion to build empathy and understanding for the hardship refugees face daily and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives. In 2020, Canada provided 30,082 refugees with the chance to resettle and rebuild their lives. However, the refugee crisis is vast and ongoing; the number of refugees worldwide has doubled from 2010 to 2019 - from 10 million to 20.4 million. UNHCR estimates that global forced displacement has surpassed 80 million as of mid-2020. Now more than ever, durable solutions that enable displaced people to build self-reliance are necessary.
“Sitti” [Si'-TEE], which means “my grandma” in Arabic, is a Toronto-based social enterprise that aims to empower and restore hope to refugee communities through the making of olive oil soap and an expanded line of consciously-crafted lifestyle products, inspired by the traditions of the community. Sitti is a certified women’s business enterprise (WBE) and purpose driven brand committed to the self-reliance of refugee and displaced communities providing long-term income-generating opportunities and skill development training empowered by an inclusive global economy.
In April 2021, Sitti launched a quarterly Subscription Box with the support of a grant from the The Canadian Women’s Foundation in partnership with the Canadian Federal Government Investment Readiness Program (IRP). To commemorate World Refugee Day, Sitti’s next quarterly box will feature refugee-owned and refugee-focused brands. The social enterprise’s growth and project expansion has created employment and training opportunities for resettled refugee women and non-binary individuals in the Greater Toronto Area.
“With the added support of The Investment Readiness Program and The Canadian Women’s Foundation, we’ve grown our capacity and created job opportunities for refugee women resettled in Canada, while also supporting local businesses and the long term employment of refugee women in their host country of Jordan,” says Sitti Founder and CEO, Noora Sharrab.
According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation website, “The Foundation believes that promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as the growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises helps women develop greater economic prosperity. Through the Investment Readiness Program funding, the Foundation aims to boost women’s sector participation in social innovation and social finance.”
The Sitti product line, which began with a signature square bar of handmade, cold-pressed olive oil soap, has since grown to a line of 21+ popular lifestyle products, including curated products through partnerships with mission-driven brand names. Sitti has evolved into a multi-national brand that can be found in the shops of retailers and distributors such as Holt Renfrew, Whole Foods, and Well.ca, and many others across Canada, the US and the Middle East.
Sitti’s subscription boxes cost CAD $150 per box, delivered every quarter. All Sitti products are handmade and all Sitti soap products are 100% vegan, made from sustainably-sourced materials cruelty-free without animal testing, biodegradable, paraben free, phthalate free, dye free and alchohol free. To learn more about the project or to order a subscription box, you can visit: www.sittibox.com
For more information or to arrange for an interview with Noora Sharrab, CEO and founder of Sitti, or for high-res photos, please contact:
Jacqueline Sofia, Sitti, Chief of Communications