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Many of us know and love Ben & Jerry's for their unique flavors and commitment to social good. But the story behind Sunny Honey Home ice cream goes even deeper. This indulgent flavor, featuring lemon ice cream, honey-caramel swirls, and lemon cookies, was created by three graduates of an international entrepreneurship program who had fled their home countries in search of a new safe home. It's been almost a year since a new flavor has been available for people in the Netherlands.

 

Fatma, representing Delitelabs from the Netherlands, originally from Syria with Palestinian roots, arrived in the Netherlands seeking a new life after the war began. A tradition of enjoying fresh, fruity ice cream near the sea in her homeland sparked Fatma's inspiration for Sunny Honey Home. This flavor reminds her of home.

 

Fatma's connection to ice cream began with a Delitelabs entrepreneurship program. There, she developed her entrepreneurial mindset and noticed a lack of fruity options in Ben & Jerry's flavors. As part of the program, she gained her first work experience in The Netherlands at the Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop.

“My home was near the sea, and during summer, it would get very hot, and we would eat ice cream every day. That’s where my inspiration for Sunny Honey Home came from—it was drawn from my own memories in Syria of being in the hot, sunny weather by the sea and eating ice cream with my mom or friends,” shares Fatma.

Usually, it was fresh and fruity ice cream. She wanted to create an ice cream that reminds her of home. Food is something that brings her closer to the feeling of home in her new country. When the opportunity arose to co-create a flavor with Ben & Jerry's, Fatma knew she had to be involved. She teamed up with two other women, using this project as a platform to share their cultural heritage and challenge stereotypes about Arab women. It was important for her to learn how innovation projects operate within large corporations.

 

Fatma feels proud when she sees their creation in stores, not just for personal satisfaction, but because a portion of the proceeds goes back to supporting newcomers.


“My kids love seeing the project their mom has been working on displayed in the shop. When my friends tell me that this is the best Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor they've tried, it fills me with pride,” shares Fatma.

This project became a valuable addition to her CV, showcasing her skills and experience beyond traditional qualifications. Fatma hasn't been passively waiting for opportunities to come to her; she has been actively taking them to learn new skills and further develop herself.“I'm happy to have participated in such a meaningful project and to be able to share my experience with others. Having this project to talk about showcases a different side of me to my colleagues. They see that I’m capable of many things. I consider myself a creative person, and this project reflects that,” Fatma adds.

 

Fatma is convinced that more companies should engage with projects like this. Many newcomers are highly educated and very creative, but their opportunities are often limited because they have to prove themselves and start over—people don't always trust the certifications and education newcomers bring. Newcomers can not only share their industry knowledge but also bring fresh perspectives and improvements, as this project proves.


Fatma's story shows how, through an entrepreneurship program, she was able to shape her journey towards employment that fits her experience and the talents she brings to The Netherlands. She gained the confidence to continue working in the industry she enjoys and is knowledgeable about. Fatma has a background in agricultural and civil engineering. It was very difficult for her to find a job in the Netherlands. The most challenging aspects were the language barrier and adapting to the new work environment. However, she now speaks Dutch fluently. Fatma is happy with the company she works for, where she gets to apply her agricultural knowledge. She commutes to work by bike every day for 11 kilometers. Fatma strives to be a good example for both of her children. Her journey highlights the importance of recognizing the skills and knowledge that newcomers bring, encouraging companies to embrace the valuable potential and knowledge that newcomers can bring.

"Journey with Delitelabs and Ben & Jerry’s has helped me to see the potential within myself," Fatma reflects. "They provided the tools and confidence I needed to restart my life here."

The next time you're looking for a refreshing and meaningful ice cream experience, get a bucket of Sunny Honey Home. It's a delicious reminder that the best flavours often come with a story behind them.




Fatma

Anabtawi

A Taste of Home: Fatma's Journey From Ice Cream Lover to Flavour Co-Creator

alumni, partner, stories, story

UP Collective Alumni
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