Founders' Letter

Looking back at the achievements of the past two years, we are beyond grateful for everyone who has supported us in our mission to make advancements toward refugee self-reliance. 

This time of reflection has also allowed us to see more clearly the path ahead, where we can grow with our existing partners, while also welcoming new ones into our community.

As you reflect with us, please know that none of this would’ve been possible without you: the partners, the team members, the customers, and the advisors. We’re eternally grateful for your support and belief in what we do. 

With thanks,

Noora, Jackie and Safiah


In our second impact report, we wanted to take a closer look at the outcomes of our impact-driven stakeholders, in alignment with our shared goals of:

1) employment generation and fair work opportunities, and;

2) gender equality. While there are many positive outcomes to celebrate and give us hope for the future, we know that we’re still a long way from where we want to be. 

In 2022, SITTI was featured by the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) as part of their annual “Voices of Courage” event. SITTI is an active member of the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative - a multi stakeholder initiative breaking barriers to create opportunities for displaced people, co-founded by WRC and RefugePoint. Video courtesy of: Women’s Refugee Commission

Outcomes: Employment Generation & Fair Work Opportunities

There are over 108 million refugees worldwide. More than half of them flee to host countries too poor to support their basic needs, including employment. The majority will never go home or be resettled.*

Supporting employment generation and fair work opportunities are critical for refugee communities in their journey towards achieving self-reliance and alleviating pressure for host countries’ seeking improved economic growth.

Outcomes: Employment

Stakeholder Story, Salem

Salem’s gaze narrows, and the wrinkles at the corner of his eyes deepen. He gestures to Hassan with his fingers softly grazing a new prototype back-and-forth, indicating that it needs to be sanded down on the edges. It should be smoother to the touch. Hassan’s hearing impairment prevents him from hearing Salem, but they have a language all-their-own. 

Salem, 63, joined the Jerash Camp Community-Based Rehabilitation Centre in 1985 as a carpenter’s assistant. Although the workshop has historically struggled to access necessary equipment and materials, Salem has managed to teach the craft of carpentry to dozens of individuals with physical or mental disabilities over the course of his tenure. His work has changed lives, equipping members of his community in Jerash with skills to build a career for themselves, regardless of the systemic barriers they encounter. At the same time, he faces personal challenges that he’s hoping to overcome. “I live with 16 people in one house…the house is not sufficient.” One of his grandsons lives with paralysis, requiring costly treatment and rehabilitative therapy that Salim cannot afford.

In 2022, Salem managed production of thousands of wooden soap dishes for SITTI, including an order for SITTI’s partnership with L’Occitane Middle East. “I learned new things when our business expanded after this partnership. We needed to develop our skills to align with this new work.” Salem and his team successfully delivered on-time. The order was the largest on-record for the carpentry workshop. It also resulted in higher wages for Salem and his team. “I was able to meet more needs as well as pay off some of the debts. It makes me happier when I could cover more needs of my family.”

Looking ahead, Salem wants to continue his work, “My goal is to work as an advisor and provide my expertise…to the children of the refugee camp I live in.” He hopes he can continue this work, while earning enough to achieve financial stability for him and his children. One day, he’d like to purchase them their own home.

Outcomes: Gender Equality

According to the latest UN Women report, “the world is NOT on track to achieve gender equality by 2030.” Yet, women and girls play a critical role in leading global progress towards achieving all of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.* 

As a company co-founded by all-women, we prioritize our continued engagement with CBO partners as active participants in their communities’ progress towards gender equality through income-generating opportunities that advance their skill sets and ability to earn fairly.

*”Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The gender snapshot 2022.” UN Women.

Outcomes: Gender Equality

Stakeholder Story, Muna

Muna* is quiet at first. However, get her talking and the pride in her work is infectious. 

Muna, 50, is a soap artisan for Hands of Sitti (affiliated with NGO partner, Hopes for Women in Education), SITTI’s longest-standing community-based partners in Jordan. When she started her job as an artisan, “It was a defining moment. It helped me stand on my own feet…become self-reliant." 

As the matriarch of a ten-person household, including five sons and two daughters, Muna is also the primary income earner for her family. Without Jordanian citizenship, her grown children are unable to take advantage of most job opportunities in the country. Working with Hands of Sitti has allowed Muna to fulfill more needs of her family, even during difficult times when no one else can find work.

In 2022, when SITTI worked with Hands of Sitti to supply record quantities of product in Q4, it meant that Muna and the team of artisans saw increased hours and increased income: they went from earning part-time to full-time wages during that fulfillment period. This shift afforded Muna the chance to make important home improvements that she was otherwise putting off for later. “I managed to repair my house and install doors for the rooms, which provided greater privacy for my children. The living environment in my home improved to match the income I had during that period." 

In the coming years, Muna’s goal is to have a healthy home that is sufficient for her and her family. “I…feel joy when I see the smile on my children's faces every time I am able to fulfill any of their needs.”


Community-Based Partners: Refugee Focused, Tradition Inspired


Hands of Sitti (NGO affiliate: Hopes for Women in Education)

Jerash Camp Community-Based Rehabilitation Centre





2021-2022 Highlights

  • Launched in 2021 and completed in 2022, the SITTI Subscription Box limited series brought together a community of conscious lifestyle brands across Canada, the U.S., Jordan and Palestine, with the goal of supporting refugee self-reliance through a quarterly subscription box for 1 year. The SITTI Box included: 12 refugee-focused brands, 16 women-led brands, and 18 BIPOC-led brands.

  • In May 2021, we piloted the Women’s Mental Health and Wellness Initiative with its first program - a Women’s Wellness Retreat. 13 women team members participated in a two-day wellness retreat centered around integrative physical and psychosocial health. The retreat was organized by SITTI and sponsored by two strategic partners - Beirut and Beyond and Millie Inc.

  • In 2021, we put into practice a new methodology for monitoring and evaluating the impact of new and recurring community-based organizational (CBO) partners. With a more comprehensive understanding of our partners’ work and impact at the community level, SITTI will be better equipped to ensure our partners’ success in accessing global markets and growing sustainably towards our shared impact goals.

  • In 2022, SITTI was appointed a sitting member of the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative (RSRI) Steering Committee. Represented by co-founder Jacqueline Sofia, SITTI joins 13 representatives from NGOs, refugee-led organizations, multilateral institutions, think tanks, research organizations and the private sector. The Steering Committee provides oversight and guides the direction of the RSRI’s work. The Steering Committee builds accountability in setting and achieving strategic objectives and supports the RSRI to ensure viability. 

  • In 2022, the SITTI x L’Occitane corporate brand partnership achieved a 97% increase in combined women artisans’ income, and 60% increase in all artisans’ combined income, compared to the previous period.* We saw a ripple effect across households: families paid down debt, purchased life-saving medications, made necessary improvements to housing, and purchased university materials.

  • In 2022, we contributed $2,250 CAD to UNHCR to support life-saving programs for refugee communities around the world, including those in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Lebanon. 

*CBO partner production time for the L’Occitane deliverables totaled 3 months (Q4, 2022). Comparison was determined based on the 3-month period prior to production of the L’Occitane order (Q3, 2022).

Looking Forward

We’re looking ahead to bridge the gap between refugee communities and a global market in high demand for social and environmental sustainability in the brands they consume everyday. In this next phase of growth, as we expand our partnerships and broaden our impact, SITTI is setting out to achieve the following: 

  • Work with corporate brand partners in the SWANA region and North America to reach a wider audience of impact-motivated customers.

  • Grow and scale our partnerships with refugee-focused and refugee-led CBOs and design collectives to create new products inspired by passed-down traditions and craftsmanship.

  • Create and implement inclusive corporate policies around social and environmental sustainability to ensure greater alignment and transparency among our CBO and corporate brand partnerships.

Create and implement a framework for CBO partner professional growth and sustainability that goes beyond production and manufacturing at the community level.


This report would not be possible without the support of our Community Impact Team in Jerash, Jordan and the ongoing training provided through the Women’s Refugee Commission and the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative.

Their commitment to transparent and evidence-based impact evaluation has equipped SITTI to build a more informed, impact-driven brand.