Monday, February 22, 2016

(Review) Hand of Friendship: Ahlan wa Sahlan

Political campaigns at Lush always make me nervous.  While I admire Lush and the massive steel balls they have for voicing their support and opinions on high controversial issues, there's always some idiot out there ready to pick a fight over a situation they're sorely misinformed about.  Working at Lush for almost 2 years, you learn quickly that a campaign comes with controversy when you're handed a list of tips and questions on how to combat these customers should they ever give you a problem.  It wasn't too terribly long ago that I was sitting in a work meeting with a handful of my coworkers, brainstorming situations and solutions, all the while fidgeting nervously at the topic at hand: refugees.

We're in the midst of one of the biggest refugee crises in human history.  Over 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives in the midst of a 5 year civil war, and 12 million have been misplaced from their homes.  Nearly 5 million of those 12 million are now living as refugees.  The majority of those refugees are living in refugee camps mainly located in Jordan, with the largest camp housing 80,000 refugees.  These people have had everything they've known taken from them and are now living in overcrowded camps with little food, water, and clean conditions, as returning to their former homes would result in certain death.  Room in these camps is shrinking as well, and is leaving those affected to resort to rafting or traveling on foot to any type of sanctuary.  You wouldn't uproot your entire family unless the danger at home was significantly greater than the danger in this big bad world of ours.

Global response to the crisis has been slow, but those seeking asylum in European countries brought it front and center to the rest of the world.  North America has begun to respond as well, with Canada pledging to take in 25,000 refugees by the end of the month with aim to continue increasing those numbers, while the United States pledging to take in 10,000 refugees (despite protests and phobia of a terror attack on U.S soil).  With such an overwhelming global response, Lush was inspired to help as well, with a warm heart and a new bar of soap!

Hand of Friendship is a (for now) Lush North America exclusive product with all proceeds going to refugee charities like International Rescue Committee and Amnesty International Canada.  Made of almond oil, rosewood, cedarwood, and lemon oils, Hand of Friendship smells like a beautifully fragrant almond croissant with a very very subtle floral hint underneath.  Two multicolored hands entwine to create a heart which I find so beautifully symbolic for the situation at hand.

This soap does smell quite sweet, but not sickeningly so.  I found it lathered wonderfully and the heart shape made it surprisingly easier to hold.  Soap always slips out of my hands in the shower so I usually cut them into smaller chunks, but I found it unnecessary with this guy (which made me happy, as cutting it would've...broke my heart...get it?  Get it?!).  However, despite the copious amounts of coconut and almond oil, I found it a bit drying for my body, but terrific as a hand soap!  Now I just need to find a soap dish that'll do this beauty justice!

Overall, the response to our #refugeeswelcome campaign has been surprisingly positive.  Opening the store the first day of the campaign was a bit nervewracking I'll admit.  But when my customers came in with beaming smiles as I explained the campaign to them, readily filling out welcome cards and readily putting the soap in their baskets, it really warmed my heart.  Honestly every time I see someone grabbing a bar of Hands of Friendship, reading the campaign table with a smile, or readily filling out a welcome postcard for a refugee to read, it just makes me so happy inside!  And I'm very happy to say that not only has my store completely sold out of our Hands of Friendship soap, but not one single fight or naysayer has stepped foot in my store.  No fights or debates or "may I speak to your manager?" has been uttered concerning the campaign, and words honestly can't express how happy that makes me, and I feel silly for being so nervous in the first place!

Campaigns like this at Lush can do one of two things...they can either restore your faith in humanity, or destroy it temporarily.  I'm so glad that this campaign resulted in the former, and it just goes to show how much the media sensationalizes things.  It just goes to show how much people realize that at the end of the day, we're all human.  We all laugh, we all cry, we love and hate and get sick and get scared.  Nothing, not skin color, nor religion, nor war or walls can change that.  More people know this than we realize, and that's truly an amazing thing.

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