In 2014, Noora Sharrab and Jacqueline Sofia began working with a motivated group of women in Jordan’s Jerash “Gaza” Refugee Camp to build the foundation for a social enterprise that would educate, employ and empower the community’s women and girls. 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 10+ popular skincare and home good items; including curated products through partnerships with ethical brand names. Sitti has evolved into a multi-national brand that can be found in the shops of retailers and distributors across the Middle East and North America, including Whole Foods Canada and Well.ca.
Sitti has already created distribution relationships with several stockists in North America, including entering stores like Holt Renfrew, Whole Foods Market in Canada, and other brick and mortar stores in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, and Los Angeles. They have also developed relationships with a network of stores throughout the Middle East with stockists in the UAE, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Sitti created an e-commerce online store for customers to buy directly. In recent years, Sitti has focused a lot of its sales in the wedding and gift industry with a special focus also on large corporate gifting, through customization and white label options available to its clientele. Sitti has been able to double its sales efforts year to year since inception.
Potential Refugee Impact
Sitti maintains its commitment to providing fair wage employment to its all-female staff, as well as providing financial and in-kind support to several beneficiary programs that contribute towards the enterprise’s social mission. Sitti established the Hopes-Sitti Women’s Center to house both their workshop as well as their beneficiary programs which are managed by Sitti staff. Other beneficiary programs include Banaat Connect, an online language-exchange program between Palestinian women and girls of the Jerash Refugee Camp and Arabic learners in North America. As of 2019, Sitti employs over 25 refugees living in the Hopes-Sitti Women’s Center, and has trained hundreds in soap making and skills development, with plans for greater expansion and training in the coming year.
Sitti Social Enterprise is an incorporated company in Ontario, Canada, directed by Noora Sharrab. She oversees operational efforts and team of over 25 refugee artisans, and 4 key management staff in Jordan and works directly with distributors and retailers in North America and globally for Sitti’s expansion. Sitti’s co-founder, Jacqueline Sofia is based out of the USA. Sitti works alongside it’s beneficiary partner, Hopes for Women in Education, in Amman, Jordan.