Hackwith Design House (“HDH”) talked with Jessica from the American Refugee Committee (“ARC”) to ask a few questions on their mission and our collaboration on the beautiful new Haven Top. The Haven Top is available for purchase at our online shop, and all proceeds will go to supporting the American Refugee Committee.
HDH: We knew we wanted to give back to a nonprofit in our community, but is there a reason this collaboration is something ARC embraced as more than just accepting a check from a business?
ARC: Absolutely. The HDH community appreciates beauty, design and individuality. So do we. Getting people the clean water, nutrition and health care they need to survive is just the beginning. Providing a space that’s beautiful and an environment that empowers a mom to care for her kids… that’s something we all feel we deserve.
The partnership with Hackwith Design House is all about shared values and shared purpose. Recognizing that people everywhere deserve beauty and individuality helps us reach people in a unique way. It’s relevant and it’s something to be proud of.
HDH: It has been a privilege getting to know you, Jessica, and others at ARC while doing this collaboration. Why do you do the work you do?
ARC: What gets me up every morning are all of the crazy exciting projects we’re working on. Getting to know and collaborate with people like you is incredibly rewarding, and I never know what kinds of opportunities will come next. I feel lucky to play a part in stuff that’s really changing the world.
A week ago I was sitting in Minneapolis putting the final touches on the décor and branding of a pilot health clinic in Eastern Congo. The clinic is just one part of a holistic approach to providing scalable nutrition, water and healthcare. I get to think through how a mom will experience the clinic – is it easy and reliable? Is it clean, bright and beautiful? It’s fun and inspiring work!
And now, I’m actually here… making it real! Still, it’s not easy to say goodbye to family – especially my 1 ½ year old – there’s a lot of baggage that comes with a trip to Eastern Congo. But what helps me sleep at night? I truly believe in our work. What we do really does change lives.
HDH: I’d love to hear more about how the money raised by the proceeds of the Haven Top will impact ARC’s work?
ARC: All of the money we raise is critical to our work. However, realistically, the bulk of our funding is through grants. These grants act as the big engine that keeps our wheels turning – that funds projects to provide clean water, health care and medicines, shelter, protection services and more.
Our goal, then, is in filling gaps. As you can imagine, the needs are incredibly great in the places we work. And they’re not all covered by these big grants. Beautifying refugee camps with trees and vegetable gardens, building playgrounds that give young children somewhere to play and something safe to do… these things don’t fall under critical needs but their impact on people’s lives and outlook is enormous.
One of the things the money raised through this collaboration will help do is give the flexibility to fill some of those gaps that can greatly enrich people’s lives.
I hope that’s not too long-winded of a response, but I think it’s important for people to know how we function and exactly how their gift, any size, can make an impact that both saves lives and recognizes that life is more than just having access to the essentials.
HDH: How can the people who have learned about ARC through this collaboration stay involved in your work?
ARC: An easy way to stay in touch is to sign-up for our Insider Update. We send bite-sized updates weekly via email. They’re a great way to connect with the impact of our work and a different lens for what’s happening in our world. And, if you happen to live in the Minneapolis area, stop by and check us out. We’ll give you the grand tour!
HDH: Where else can people go to learn about ARC and the work of organizations like yours to help refugees around the world?
ARC: People can learn more about ARC at our website www.ARCrelief.org or by following us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is another place to learn more – the agency’s mandate is to lead and coordinate all international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide (www.unhcr.org). We have so many refugees who have made new homes and new lives in the US—we also recommend getting to know the refugee neighbors living in your community!
Photos courtesy of Brent Hines at the American Refugee Committee.