On Resilience: How One Somali Refugee Is Paying Homage To Her Home Country – And Building A Food Empire

We interview boss ladies who have improbable stories of resilience.

Hawa Hassan is the creator and ShEO of Basbaas Sauce, which is a line of condiments inspired by her home country, Somalia. Born in Mogadishu, her family was forced to flee when civil war broke out. They lived in a UN Refugee Camp for a year; when Hawa was 7, her mother seized an opportunity to send her to Seattle to live with a family friend. It would be 15 years before they’d see each other again.

From Kenya, her mother was able to migrate to Norway, where she opened a Somali goods store. Hawa, alone in Seattle, built a career as a model before moving to NYC and starting Basbaas Sauce. Today, it retails at some of the finest grocers in the country like Dean & Deluca national and select Whole Foods.



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