Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 August 2019

How this Abu Dhabi thrift store is proving to be a social enterprise

Not only has Lahum sold thousands of items, but it's also managed to help 13 students in the UAE with Dh5,000 scholarships

Sheikh Mohammed bin Diab Al Nahyan, centre, with Ameera Amir, Founder of Lahum, and scholarship recipients. Courtesy Ameera Amir
Sheikh Mohammed bin Diab Al Nahyan, centre, with Ameera Amir, Founder of Lahum, and scholarship recipients. Courtesy Ameera Amir

Since it first opened its doors last year, Lahum, the Abu Dhabi second-hand store, has sold more than 3,500 items of clothing.

Not only is that a great feat for sustainability, but, as a social enterprise, it is also great news for the some of the UAE’s bright minds.

Founded by Ameera Amir, Lahum is using its profits to offer scholarships to children across the UAE who need help towards their tuition fees. And, on Monday evening, the first 13 children to benefit from Lahum’s scheme were each awarded their grant.

The students, who are all in their senior year and attend Abu Dhabi Indian School, Dar Al Uloom Private School and The Philippine Global School, each received Dh5,000 after successfully applying to the Lahum scholarship programme.

The scholarships were awarded during a special ceremony, which was held at the Lahum shipping container headquarters in Masdar Park, Abu Dhabi.

Among the guests at the ceremony were HH Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, HH Sheikh Theyab bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, HE Ambassador Quintana of The Philippines, Deputy Ambassador of India, Dr. Fatima Al Shamsi from Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi , teachers, spouses of Ambassadors and many other wonderful members of the community who have actually supported Lahum one way or another. Courtesy Ameera Amir
Among the guests at the ceremony were Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Sheikh Theyab bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Ambassador Hjayceelyn Quintana of the Philippines and Dr. Fatima Al Shamsi from Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. Courtesy Ameera Amir

Amir launched Lahum, which means "for them", to promote sustainability and a circular economy, aiming to use all profits to support children's education through scholarships at partner schools.

Volunteers and interns, including students from Al Ittihad National Private School, NYUAD and Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, worked alongside lawyers, yoga therapists and ambassadors to make Lahum the success it has become.

“It is imperative to prepare our next generation and give them hope, which I define as access to education and employment opportunities,” says Amir.

“I strongly believe jobs to be interlinked to economic prosperity and peaceful communities. Productive members of the society are less likely to engage in risky behaviour. They are also more likely to continue the cycle of innovation, education and opportunity for future generations.”

Since Lahum is a non-profit social enterprise, not a charity, no monetary donations have been accepted to support its mission. Among the initiatives launched in the last year are the Lahum Sustainability Bazaar, where an organisation hosts a clothing sale. Once the Dh5,000 target is reached, the organisation can co-sponsor the student scholarship with Lahum.

Another initiative launched has been the Fill a Box with Love campaign, which sees a company purchase clothes from Lahum and gift the items to their staff or members of the community. Under this initiative, Al Fahim Group chose to surprise staff at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr.

Its partners also include NMC Healthcare, Tryano, Ghaleya, Crescent Enterprises, Shot Specialty Cafe and Masdar City.

Updated: April 25, 2019 04:35 PM

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