2020 Impact Report
Click below to read about Sitti’s impact in 2020, and where we’re headed next.
Co-Creator Letter: Jackie and Noora
“There is no choice. We must make it work.”
These words have echoed through our heads since the first days of Sitti when we gathered with our co-creator, Safiah Abu Shanin, and a couple hundred bars of olive oil soap in Jerash refugee camp, Jordan. In 2020, these same words were said to us over a Zoom call by Patrick Chalhoub, CEO of Chalhoub Group, as we presented Sitti during the first Chalhoub Greenhouse Incubator in Dubai (virtually).
As we began to see the widening inequalities for refugees in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, these words became vibrations. Our team wasted no time working to pivot and grow Sitti as a global brand, while also supporting the escalating needs of our local community in Jerash camp. In spite of lost donor funding for community-based organizations (CBOs) in the camp, with many shutting their doors, we were able to maintain our own CBO partnerships and support their operations throughout 2020. We invested in our operational growth and capacity, as well as our business development, to ensure that our company
and team remained on a path towards self-reliance.
And in the middle of a pandemic, we grew. We developed the foundation for a surprise subscription box model to ensure continuous income-generation and a longer runway in the coming year. We built the infrastructure for measuring our impact and improving our outcomes based on the needs of our community in
their desire for self-reliance. Our mission drove us to grow. And we’re thrilled to bring that story of growth to you in our first impact report. We hope it informs you as much as it fuels you to do your part as a conscious consumer and global citizen.
Co-Creator Letter: Safiah Abu Shanin
“This report provides me and our team with a vision of where we are now, and where we are going. It gives me hope.”
In 2014, a soap-making workshop was facilitated for women in Jerash “Gaza” camp. However, the women were not trained to harness what they learned and benefit financially. At the time, I was already working with the community-based organization (CBO) Hopes for Women in Education (see: “Community-Based Partners and Outcomes”) to develop more sustainable educational programming for girls and women inside Jerash camp. As a non-profit, it was difficult to rely on donations only. I thought that if we were able to generate income, the craft of
soap-making could be a sustainable way to support women’s education in the camp and create jobs.
Sitti is different from other projects in the camp. It was built to guarantee consistent, reliable income for refugee women and men. Unlike other organizations that focus on direct relief, Sitti also promotes women’s empowerment beyond the workshop by supporting professional and personal development programming.
As ex-Gazan refugees in Jordan who do not hold nationality, our educational and employment opportunities are severely restricted. The situation became worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, through Sitti’s continued support, our CBO partners - the Rehabilitation Centre and Hopes for Women in Education - have been able to continue operating through the pandemic despite lost
My goal for the future of Sitti is to empower the refugee community economically and socially. The Sitti impact report is important to me because it shows how I have made a difference in my own community. This report provides me and our team with a vision of where we are now, and where we are going. It gives me hope.
14 July 2021: In a previous version of the report, on p. 11 “Mission,” Sitti misquoted statistics related to rates of education and employment in Jerash refugee camp. We have since corrected this information.