Zaid Souqi worked in banking and logistics for a couple of years, until he stumbled upon what
drastically changed his life – The Orenda Tribe.
Who is Zaid Souqi?
The eldest of three boys, I was born and raised in a family oriented middle class family in Amman, Jordan. I attended university at the University of Bristol for my undergraduate degree in Computer Systems Engineering (I know, what brings you to art and social work?) and recently did my MBA at IE Business School in Madrid. A huge fan and player of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – the Souqi brothers are into that – and I love nature and traveling. Now enough about me.
Tell us about the main concept of The Orenda Tribe.
The Orenda Tribe is a children's clothes brand that offers high quality and socially responsible apparel, with designs created from the artwork of children living in distressed communities.
Our concept is divided into three parts:
1. Art Workshops
We facilitate art workshops for children living in distressed communities such as refugee camps or poor local areas, with the aim of empowering, educating and introducing children to art.
2. Product Development
With the assistance of designers, we curate selected drawings onto products such as our existing 100 percent organic cotton t-shirts and other products to come.
3. Giving Back
With every product purchased, we contribute back a percentage of the profit to fund art related activities in distressed communities.
What does The Orenda Tribe aim to do?
The Orenda Tribe’s aim is to empower children living in distressed communities, bring happiness into their childhood, bridge the gap between privileged and unprivileged communities, raise awareness on issues within those communities, and shine light on the many talents within them.
What inspired you to launch The Orenda Tribe – a truly unique and inspiring business?
The Orenda Tribe is the result of my life experiences so far and what I aspire to be in the future. Attending an MBA at IE Business School, an entrepreneurial spirited program, combined with serving with an NGO that cares for, and empowers orphans and vulnerable children in Johannesburg, South Africa; add to that the place of my upbringing Jordan and the Middle East triggered The Orenda Tribe.
Throughout my experiences, I worked with and met contagiously inspiring people with amazing energies; energies that I figured out came from following a purpose and trying to make a real difference in this world. One day, I decided to bring purpose into my life and that there is no need to choose between doing well and doing good, and this is when I decided to quit my job as a general manager in a logistics company to pursue The Orenda Tribe.
The OrendaTribe, offers the perfect equation for me to both make a decent living and contribute back to the community at the same time. A concept if followed by all for-profit companies, would make a huge positive difference in the world.
What are your business’ key values?
We have seven main values and the three icons in our logo – the sun, the tent, and the leaf resemble our values.
Sun – inspire, hope, empowerment, and fun.
Tent – community.
Leaf – revival and growth.
Art is a neglected subject in most distressed communities although it plays a major role in building skills in children that will allow them to build a better future for themselves and their communities.
Art builds skills such as creativity, problem-solving, community-building, confidence, and communication. It can act as a catalyst for change.
Tell us about your projects.
During our first eight months, we did projects with the Za’atari Refugee Camp, Gaza Refugee Camp, the SOS village in Amman and two underprivileged schools. Our projects included bringing in certified art therapists into the communities, doing education through art, school beautification projects, and other non-art related projects like buying winter clothes for children and more.
Are there any future projects in which you are particularly excited about?
Well, our long-term goals are divided into the business side and the social side. From the business aspect, we hope to become a lifestyle brand; hence, we are working on a number of new products. From the social side, with the help of certified artists, we want to create an art curriculum that empowers children and can be easily implemented in all our partner communities, instead of doing one-off art sessions. I am very excited about both parts!
What is your most unforgettable experience with The Orenda Tribe?
All experiences were amazing; such as going for eight days in a row to Gaza Refugee Camp with volunteers from both outside and within the camp to beautify the school for the children – being personally part of the Art Therapy Session with the kids was also interesting. However, one specific moment truly stands out in my head. Once, while doing the exercise of “draw your happy place” with children of one of the refugee camps, I was sitting next to a girl named Doa’a and I asked her about her happy place and she responded “My happy place is when I do art.”
I would like to conclude with the meaning of Orenda:
ORENDA – (noun) is a mystical force present in all people that empowers them to affect the world, or to effect change in their own lives.