We’ll start this blog with a for-good stat: It is proved that helping another human being or doing any kind of selfless act for someone that needs it, is good for your own health. Your brain secretes chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, which makes you feel better and happier! The best part is that someone is doing so much better because of you!
Some people have made their life based on helping others, on selfless acts that improve communities, people, and even the planet. In this week's #goodtribe interview, we bring you someone that is part of this incredible community! We are talking about Hala Scandar, founder of Dandarah.
Dandarah is a brand created with the mission of empowering egyptian artisans and their communities, selling their fashion accessories, pottery, bags, and more! Its name is based on an Egypcian agricultural bank on the west bank of the Nile River. This town is home to one of the best preserved temples of pharaonic Egypt. It was also dedicated to the goddess Hathor who was the goddess of the sky, women, beauty, fertility and love. She was also strongly connected with motherhood. This town is also connected to other Egypcian towns where you can find pottery, patestry, woodworking and more! And you guessed it right, Dandarah’s artisans work and live in that town!
We sat down with Hala to hear her story and how Dandarah gives back! So without further ado, let’s hear it from her!
Can you tell us how Dandarah gives back to the community or the planet?
Dandarah gives back to the community through several avenues, primarily by supporting marginalized artisans in Egypt through fair pay, capacity building and opening international markets for their handmade products. We also give back to the community by frequently partnering with NGOs such as Médécins Sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders (MSF); we partnered with MSF during part of 2020 by donating 10% of our sales in support of their work on the COVID-19 response. At the same time, as a member of 1% for The Planet, Dandarah gives back to the planet by contributing at least one percent of its annual sales to support nonprofit organizations focused on the environment.
Why giving back is important to you?
I believe that someone’s resources, skills and capabilities are wasted if not utilized to give back to others, and especially those in need.
Can you share any story of when you gave back and its impact?
During COVID-19 some of the marginalized artisan groups we partner with in Egypt were not getting any orders due to the situation, impacting their income enormously and putting them under much financial and psychological strain. To support these artisans during those tough times we continued to place orders throughout the COVID-19 period although our sales did not necessitate building up such inventory. This helped our artisans overcome this tough period by providing them with steady demand for their products and sustainable income.
What inspired you to start giving back to the community? Was there a defining moment that made you start caring about giving back?
Most age-old crafts in Egypt are centered in rural towns and villages where artisans have been passed down those crafts from generation to generation for over 6000 years. Those rural areas have some of the highest levels of poverty and illiteracy in Egypt. Being born and raised in Egypt, before moving to Canada, I have been touched by the difficult circumstances of those artisans, who are highly skilled and produce magnificent handmade products. I was inspired to support those artisans and help preserve their crafts by helping them achieve a sustainable income through capacity building, product development, and by opening new international markets for their products.
There has been so much learning since the pandemic hit. These are the times to start caring about our planet and the people who live on it. Luckily, we have people such as Hala that serve us as inspiration, and that let us know that if you want to give back, you can do it your own way. For Hala, it’s all about helping artisans and providing them a better life, but giving back can start with a simple nice gesture to your neighbor, start recycling, and more.
Let us know in the comments how you are giving back or what are your plans to give back!
To learn more about Dandarah as well as 19 more companies that are in the for-good business check out the Good Mothers Day Giveaway! You or your lucky mom could get products from Dandarah plus 18 more amazing good companies (including us!).