As you head out today to support locally owned coffee shops, boutiques, and bookstores, here’s one more way you can celebrate Small Business Saturday:
By supporting some of the brightest entrepreneurs in the Middle East.
Over the past year, hundreds of refugees and their families have reclaimed their lives from the ashes of war—with your help. You’ve provided jobs for Syrian women feeding thousands of families on the run from war. You’ve launched new businesses in newly liberated neighborhoods in Mosul—bakeries, restaurants, daycares, beauty salons.
You’ve helped refugees imagine a new identity for themselves. They’re no longer just refugees. They’re soapmakers. Knitters. Candlemakers. Business owners.
This Small Business Saturday, you can hold a piece of their future in your hands—or share it as a gift with loved ones this holiday season.
When you buy refugee-made soap, washcloths, candles, and more, you are supporting local businesses in some of the hardest places on earth. You’re helping displaced families do more than just survive. You’re helping them to flourish again.
Handouts are not a long-term solution to poverty and conflict. We imagine something better for our refugee friends—and more importantly, they dare to imagine something better for themselves.
The best way to help someone who’s had their power stripped from them is to work with them and create something they can own—something they can take pride in, something that uniquely matches their talents and skills.
This is precisely what you are doing for Gozê, our soapmaker friend who no longer has to worry about how she will buy food or medicine for her children. It’s precisely what you are doing for Khadija, who’ll be able to return home to Syria to give birth to her child, surrounded by family, because of the money she’s earned knitting. It’s what you’re doing for Faris, who no longer thinks of himself as “the refugee” because he’s so busy making soap, caring for his growing family—imagining a better future and turning imagination into reality.
If there’s one thing we want to celebrate this Small Business Saturday, it’s the ingenuity and hard work of local refugees-turned-business-owners. You have stood with them in so many ways, helping start so many businesses in the Middle East. Not by forcing them into a one-size-fits-all box of “empowerment,” but by walking alongside each one individually—for months or even years— to create products that they love and can be proud of.
We believe in the power of local business to lift refugees out of poverty—and we can’t wait to share some of their ingenuity with you this holiday season.