29 May 17 04 Jan 18

Supporter Stories: Canadian jewellery store bolsters MSF's efforts in Syria


By Alexandra Sirois

This past December, Toronto-based jewellery retailer Jenny Bird donated a day’s proceeds of their online sales to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)’s work in Syria. Thanks to their quick decision-making and an overwhelming response from customers, Jenny Bird raised thousands for MSF’s lifesaving work.

Founded in 2008, Jenny Bird Jewellery has grown to become an internationally recognized jewellery brand sold worldwide. As the company grows, so too does founder Jenny Bird and president Adam Kohn’s desire to share their success with others. In addition to designing and selling jewellery, the two are passionate about donating both funds and expertise to organizations working internationally. “It is important to always look beyond your bubble,” says Jenny. “Every year, we try to do as much as we can to support our fellow global citizens.”

One morning last winter, after hearing reports coming from the crisis in Syria, Jenny and Adam wanted to help. That very morning, Jenny and Adam decided they would donate 100 per cent of the profits from the day’s sales to humanitarian relief efforts in Syria. “While researching, we saw MSF was listed as one of the best places to donate,” says Jenny. “We were aware of MSF before, but the more we read, the more we knew this was the right place for us.”  

Helping provide care in one of the world's worst humanitarian crises

MSF’s work in Syria began in 2009. Now seven years into the conflict, civilians continue to be affected by a complex humanitarian crisis characterized by extreme and targeted violence. Hospitals and healthcare facilities in the country have come under attack, compounding an already dire situation and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without medical assistance. Access in the country remains limited as both the government and the Islamic State have denied authorization to enter certain regions. Despite these difficulties, MSF operates and supports healthcare facilities wherever possible, in addition to running a tetanus and measles immunization program in the northern governorates. In southern Syria, MSF is supporting health structures – including a blood bank, emergency unit, maternal health unit, and an inpatient care department – and is providing remote technical support to hospitals.

For Jenny and Adam, donating to MSF was an easy choice. “MSF has been saving lives for 40 years; we think it’s so important to support an organization that has been providing some of the most essential kinds of support, which is medical,” says Jenny. Held right after last year's Cyber Monday, one of Jenny Bird’s biggest sales of the year, there was no shortage of online shoppers the day of the event. “Our customers shopped in droves. The sheer amount of people who decided to shop overwhelmed us,” says Jenny.  In just one day, the online store raised almost $5,000.

“Using our jewellery brand to provide medical support to those who don’t have any; it was a no-brainer," says Jenny. "And something that we will continue to do.”

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