In Conversation with the Founders of PaliRoots

We had the humbling opportunity to speak directly with the founders of PaliRoots, a brand + community bringing awareness to and celebrating Palestinian culture and identity. Here is what they had to say.

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Hi! Please introduce yourselves!

Hello! This is Aminah and Hussein, we are a sibling duo that founded PaliRoots in 2016. We take pride in our inspiring designs and premium high-quality products — but it is social entrepreneurship that is truly integral to our brand. It’s what inspires us to move forward. We believe that educating the world about Palestinian culture and traditions in a positive, constructive way, provides a platform for expanding awareness and the much-needed conversation about human rights for Palestinian lives. 

PaliRoots is a fashion brand that also has core values in health and equity, with a focus on celebrating Palestinian culture and aiding those in need. Why is it so important to you guys that your brand strives for social transformation?

We live in an era today where everyone has a voice. We believe that breaking the silence enables us to humanize the Palestinians and bring more support to the cause. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has evolved tremendously over the last 3-5 years and a lot of these changes involved with the rise of social media.  The important thing about social transformation is understanding that you cannot stand for just one cause without standing for injustice as a whole. That’s why for us, we stand with every cause that is willing to root for equity for all. 

Not only is PaliRoots an incredible business, it is also a community that aims to spread education and awareness about the unique Palestinian culture and traditions. Why is this mission personal to you, and how did this vision start?

Thank you for your amazing words about PaliRoots! We always had a vision to create a platform where people can connect over Palestine and form deep meaningful friendships (marriages too but that was accidental). We built this platform to connect people who stand for change to connect and help support each other’s work. This vision started when we were younger by our grandfather “Sido Hussein” who always taught us about our amazing culture.  He also reminded us of our privilege and why we were raised in America and how this is a place of opportunity which we can then leverage to somehow lead to positive impact and bring aid to those “back home” in Palestine.

You guys have also started a meal program where you donate a meal to a Palestinian child in need for every single order placed on the website. Can you tell us a little bit more about how this came to be?

In 2019, we started the PaliRoots meal program in partnership with The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA). We ran a 3-month pilot program to research food and nutrient deficiency in four kindergartens in some of the poorest areas of the Gaza Strip. We found that among the 372 children at these kindergartens, 37% were anemic, 4.1% were stunted, 23% were at risk of stunting, 3% were underweight, 20.5% were overweight, and 14.2% were obese. At the end of the pilot program, the results showed a significant improvement in the health of the children. This also increased their desire to attend school more regularly. Their attention and behavior improved as well. The greatest part is this is all run by women in Palestine who have been directly affected by the occupation, including single mothers who have lost their husbands in war. 

The inspiration was modeled off the school lunch program we grew up with in Chicago. The only difference is that in Chicago, the program is a state-funded program vs. ours thrives from our community support.  We were a low-income family and benefited greatly from this program and thought about how amazing it was to be able to do this for our people back home. The difference between the children in Gaza and Palestine, is that Palestinian children suffer from a lot more growth issues due to the food insecurity in the region. Many of the children have never had meat before. The program has raised to date over $3 million which will provide breakfast and lunch to 861 low-income students in Gaza over next four years, this is our proudest accomplishment to date. 

Tell us about the process for creating pieces! How do you come up with the designs, and what inspires your unique necklaces, bracelets, clothing, and other products?

We take a lot of pride in our unique product line. We have over 150+ unique items you can find in store from Shirts to Jewelry, Olive Oil Nablus Soap (Our customers love it), and beautiful high-quality scarfs (Hirbawi Kufiya) from Palestine. Aminah is the main designer and works to source these products from all over the world. What makes us different from other brands is that we source at the cotton level meaning we design the cut, the fabric quality, and softness, and the little details that not many brands include. That’s why we like to call ourselves technical designers. The quality of the clothing has attracted many celebrities around the world like Bella and Anwar Hadid, George Lopez, Michael Malarkey, and many more. 

PaliRooters of all backgrounds and cultures come together to help others, and spread compassion and unity. What does the community mean to PaliRoots?

Let me tell you… the PaliRoots community is the best community ever. We are the PaliFam because we bond like a true family who love and support each other. The power of the PaliFam is unmatched. They are extremely generous and truly amplify the mission because they are true to the cause. We love our PaliRooters and admire their courage every day. Being a supporter of Palestine comes with heartbreak. Lots of trauma from seeing the injustices happening in Palestine but we all are all hopeful that Palestine will be free soon! 

How can PaliRoots bring people together? Why is your platform a place where people all over the world can learn from each other, inspire and support one another, and work towards a purpose and mission of giving back to those in need?

PaliRoots brings people together every day! We can’t count how many times our PaliRooters email us telling us that they found their soulmate on PaliRoots and are now getting married. At first, it was a bizarre experience thinking that, “Wow, we created a platform that’s getting people married too”, but it has brought us so much joy. We repost a lot of community content on our page that we believe is extremely worthy of seeing and this is how we connect people. For example, we talked about a Palestinian girl who is looking to launch a satellite into space, now she has people who are supporting the initiative. We post about a musician and now he has a whole army backing him because of the mission and of course he makes great music. These are just a few random examples but another way is through our events which we host about 4-5 times a year and let me tell you they are fun! We look to find more ways to connect people together and we will as we continue to grow! 

Tell us more about your mission of giving back. To support Palestine and those who face extreme hardships, why is a community like PaliRoots so important? What else can people do to support Palestine and others in need?

The PaliRoots community is important because it’s directly helping the people on the ground. 90% of the Gazan population do not have access to clean water, 70% rely on foreign aid and over 50% of the population is under the age of 15.  

We partner with many amazing organizations that do amazing work on the ground. PaliRoots gives back in two different ways; (1) Through the PaliRoots Meal Program which donates one nutritious meal to a child in need for every order placed on PaliRoots. After that, for every 25 dollars you spend, we will donate another meal and (2) Through the PaliRoots Funding Project which organizes high-impact campaigns with non-profits to families in Palestine who need it most. 

From the very beginnings of our brand up until today, we collectively as a community have; (1) Donated 2.4M+ meals through our PaliRoots Meal Program and (2) Donated 2,852,946.76 dollars towards charitable causes through our PaliRoots Funding Project. 

The PaliRoots Meal Program is our personal pride and joy and is the soul of our brand. Today, the program is funded to feed nutritious meals to 871 students for the next 4-years every day (breakfast and lunch) during the school week. Every child deserves food security. And we hope to make that a reality for children in Palestine. 

It’s simple — people support the PaliRoots mission because it’s genuine and this is reflected in the work we do and the level of transparency we achieve to the donors.

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You can donate to the PaliRoots Meal Program today by clicking here.

Shop PaliRoots’ collections here.

jessica liu

jessica is a sophomore at csula, studying mathematics and creative writing. she's a student reporter for the university times and a staff writer for outlander zine and mochi magazine. her words have been featured in the los angeles times and overachiever magazine.

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