Raphaël and Galilio are a gay couple who fled persecution from their home countries to Turkey before coming to Canada as asylum seekers. In March 2020, they opened up Mawlana, a small boutique shop on Granville Island named after the Sufi poet Rumi. They sell handmade cashmere, silk scarves, shoes, soap, jewelry, and other accessories. Many of these goods were made by women in a refugee community in Turkey. The concept of Mawlana reflects not only their culture but also the cultures of the people they left behind.

Unfortunately, Mawlana had to close weeks after opening in March due to the pandemic. Nonetheless, this did not dampen Raphaël and Galilio’s enthusiasm to succeed in Canada, their new home. They are resilient and worked nonstop to take thousands of pictures of their products to facilitate online sales. Mawlana is now open for shopping both online at www.mawlana.ca and in-store at Granville Island (1670 Duranleau St, Vancouver). 

This holiday season, Mawlana will be donating 10% of the proceeds from their rainbow soap box sales to the Rainbow Foundation of Hope so we can continue helping refugees and asylum seekers like Raphaël and Galilio. These beautiful soap boxes contain soaps of all the colours of the rainbow and represent the beautiful, vibrant community that we all love. We at Rainbow Foundation of Hope will definitely be doing our holiday shopping at Mawlana. We hope that everyone will consider paying a visit, whether physically or virtually, this holiday season to support a beautiful and local refugee-owned business that embodies true strength and resilience. Thank you to Raphaël and Galilio for your compassion and generosity. This is why we have hope.