RF 7: Hiyam the candlemaker

Welcome to Refugee Friday! Today is the SEVENTH installment of Refugee Friday. Every Friday, through the end of the year, we're partnering with Preemptive Love to share the stories of refugee survivors across Syria and Iraq. Along with giving these survivors a voice to share their story, 50% of orders placed on Refugee Friday will go to Preemptive Love to contribute aid and relief efforts, but ultimately, to restoring dignity after desolation.

Here’s Hiyam’s story…


Hiyam grew up being taught that she was expected to get married, stay at home, caring for a household and family. She was not allowed to go to college or learn any trades. So when war struck, it changed everything...

Her husband became disabled during war in 1996, he was left unable to walk. He could no longer work or provide for his family due to his sudden and unexpected disability. In Iraq, being unable to walk makes it very difficult to work. Their oldest of five children was just six years old at the time. Hiyam’s role in the family forever changed. She took up seam-stressing to make ends meet, but seven years ago, she had the chance to learn candle-making, and jumped at the opportunity.

I didn’t have the chance to work at the beginning of my life, so when I had this opportunity, I ran for it and achieved my dream—making handmade goods. Now I am happy to be a worker, and to have an income!
— Hiyam

“I was just like the other workers at first. I used to take my [candle making] materials home and work there. I could do it at home and take care of my kids at the same time, [working] in a responsible way.”

Hiyam grew in confidence, ability and creativity, and is now teaching other Iraqi women the same skills. Each of Hiyam’s five children graduated from high school, went on to college, and a few are now married. She raised each child with the ability to choose their future, while helping her husband, keeping their home, and providing an income for her family.

Today 50% of proceeds from your purchase goes to Preemptive Love, supporting women artisans in war-torn places as they remake their countries our their lives.

Shop here…