This is a repost from the Young Survival Coalition. View the original post here.
My name is Ali Hayalie, founder of La Hun Manuka Honey from New Zealand. I am sharing my personal story with you as a co-survivor, a survivor of war, and a new partner to YSC.
In the early 90s, my single mum, 6 month old brother and I had a golden opportunity by the grace of the universe and escaped the first gulf war in Iraq, I was only 6 years old but we had seen some horrific scenes during those times of people losing their loved ones to the war all around us. We had to leave for another chance at life and luckily enough, New Zealand was our new destination which opened up their borders for us to migrate to.
New Zealand at the time was a new country to us where we couldn’t really speak the language and was on the other side of the world. Initially it was very difficult to settle in not being able speak English and being from a completely different culture. My mother being 30 at the time and recently divorced, kept pushing to give us a better life and new opportunity.
A few years later, she met a man who was soon to be my stepfather, he raised us and taught us what fatherly love was again. I never really heard from my real dad ever since leaving Iraq, I felt some sort of abandonment by him but I always tried to cover that feeling from a young age for some reason and kept optimistic.
Years go by and in my 2nd year of University, my stepfather (who I call my dad) started complaining from acid reflux in his stomach. After months of going in and out of hospital not knowing what’s wrong, we get told horrific news that he had been diagnosed with small cell carcinoma in the stomach – a rare type of cancer that usually happens in the lungs but in his case it was in the stomach, a case so rare that the doctors in New Zealand had only seen 2 or 3 cases happen in the history of the country.
They gave him 6 months to live, by the 3rd month he had passed. He was only 48 years of age.
Two fathers down and being the oldest kid in the family I didn’t know what or how to feel. At the time I didn’t think I could feel the same anymore. I felt a huge responsibility to help my mother but still didn’t know how to, as I was only 19. I wanted to leave New Zealand and find myself again, after finishing my studies at university at the age of 20, I landed a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity with Emirates Airlines as a flight attendant. This was a blessing as I needed to find who I was again and traveling the world would open up my mind and make me have new experiences which would help me with the pain of recently losing my dad.
Since traveling the world, I have been involved in fashion throughout the years in a few different places like Dubai, California, the UK and Australia, while on my journey I had realized that the Manuka Honey industry had a great positive influence on people using it for their health and overall wellness.
Unfortunately, I also realized that many ‘brands’ out there were selling fake Manuka Honey that wasn’t authentic nor sustainable which led me to wanting to find out more to what was going on with the industry on a global scale. With more and more people being health conscious, I was not happy at the fact that most individuals were buying fake Manuka Honey and being misled by a great commodity that came from my home New Zealand.
Artists I was working with were also using the honey to help with their vocal cords and voices but It was sad to see the products they were using were not genuine. Being a New Zealander, I felt like it was my responsibility to provide a solution for that and create something that was 100% authentic, ethical, sustainable and recyclable. I wanted to create a magical brand that people can relate to and use on a daily basis without them being misled or ripped off.
I also realized that no Manuka Honey ‘brands’ out there were giving back or helping anyone in an authentic way.
And so, La Hun was born. The Manuka Honey brand with a voice that was modern, fun and most importantly authentic. I knew that I also wanted to give back to an organization that was also genuine and that helped and looked after their people genuinely. I started researching hundreds of different organizations online and stumbled on YSC’s page around this time last year. I was really impressed with how authentic YSC was and the more research I did on the organization the more I felt that La Huns values aligned with YSC.
We are very excited to officially announce our partnership together where 5% of our profits go towards YSC!
With that, we also want everyone who is a part of the YSC community to have a lifetime code of 15% off and to enjoy our Manuka Honey. We created a discount code which can be inserted at the end shopping cart under ‘YSC15’.
Being the founder or La Hun Manuka Honey, I am extremely pleased and excited for the YSC community to enjoy La Huns magic from the comfort of their own home and to continue building our journey together as this is only the beginning.
We are all here on our own individual journeys but what is special about the journey is who we share our paths with along the way, I really think that’s what makes life really magical. I look forward to seeing all of you in person hopefully very soon!