Liverpool-based fundraising group for children’s hospital in Yemen launches unique fashion sale

Comments (0) Fashion, Lifestyle


Habibti Liverpool are becoming well known in the city for their inclusive events, sales and fundraising which raise vital funds and resources which go directly to the Al-Sabeen Children’s Hospital in Sana’a in Yemen. Habibti was first launched when Dr. Najla Al-Sonboli returned to Yemen after some time at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. As war broke out there, Dr. Najla decided to remain, and with the help of Professor Sally Theobald and her colleagues and alumni at LSTM, this groundbreaking fundraising effort based around one major medical facility was born. Al-Sabeen Hospital is the only centre in Yemen with a functioning Paediatric Intensive Care Unit aiming to provide accessible adequate medical care. 

Feature by Nancy Buckland Kirk

Habibti as a solidarity fundraising group supports Al-Sabeen on many levels. It is able to provide key resources to help health workers do their jobs, PPE, purchase vital life saving machines, basic medical equipment and pay for tests and investigations that families cannot afford for their child. International aid to support Al-Sabeen and other hospitals in need has been cut by up to 80% since 2021.

The team behind Habibti are well aware of the challenges facing the health care workers they are helping to fund, and the children desperately in need of their assistance. However, as a fundraising group they aim to keep their efforts at home as uplifting, joyous and fun as possible. Their regular pop-up shops at Granby Market in Liverpool 8, on the first Saturday of every month, are real community affairs – they give everyone in the family a chance to pick up a bargain, from toys to books to clothing. Their ‘pocket money toys’ start at just 10p, and they set a cap of £10 for any item, to ensure their pop-up is accessible and affordable.

During lockdown periods the Habibti team had to get creative with fundraising, and turned to their online Facebook community. As Habibti started attracting national attention, as well as local support, plus some international input, the team decided to launch their first online fashion sale. This was to sell specially curated vintage fashion items, designer pieces, and donated silks from India and China. As some of these items were valuable, the online fashion sales were able to raise increasing funds, as the market for vintage and rare pieces has really grown as a fashion marketplace.

For their next Facebook fashion sale on Saturday April 9th on the Habibti Facebook page, the team are proud to present amongst their ticket items a stunning lace cape shawl. Made of antique Irish lace, it has been rejuvenated painstakingly to restore it to its former glory, with some tiny fuschia pink detailing added to complete its glow up.

The Irish lace vintage shawl

Louise O’Brien of Habibti Liverpool explains: ‘We are 7 years into our fundraising now, and it has never been more important to us as a group. We want to make sure the people of Yemen, and the team at Al-Sabeen Children’s Hospital continue to receive our support. The people of Liverpool have always been so very generous, and our Yemeni community in the city provides us with such valuable input. For us, the fashion sales give us an opportunity to raise extra funds, as some of the pieces that come in are unique. Our Granby Market pop-up is a fun, family event where we want everyone in the area to join us. The online events mean people can attend from extended locations.

I am really aware that the news from around the world can be overwhelming at times. However, I have found that what we do at Habibti Liverpool touches people’s hearts, as they can see via our social media content a direct link between any donation made and how it helps the teams at Al-Sabeen. We also get to talk to them about how the funds are used in more detail. As well as supporting medical personnel, we also help out support staff such as porters and cleaners, who come from the most financially challenged backgrounds. After 8 years of war in Yemen, resources on every level are scarce and often inaccessible for everyone linked to Al-Sabeen.

Our Ramadan sale on Saturday 9th April is to help raise funds for targeted food parcels for the malnutrition clinic at Al-Sabeen. Families who access this clinic are some of the very poorest in the region, and we help provide essentials and basics to keep them going. Children with long term health conditions and disabilities can be overlooked, and so we want to ensure we can assist them as much as we can.

The paediatric team at the Al-Sabeen take delivery of a brand new ventilator this week with funds raised entirely by the Habibti voluntary fundraisers

We look forward to welcoming new faces next time we are at Granby Market, and also avid fashion hunters at our online Facebook sale.’

As a fashion and style writer myself, I was contacted by a mutual friend to help Louise value some of the vintage finds she was able to access. I love fashion history, and I am good with dates, so straight away I knew which collections pieces came from, whether they were from Prada or Stella McCartney for Chloe. I know that designer vintage items are really in demand right now, especially amongst buyers looking out for nineties and Y2K styles. Bridal fashion is an industry in its own right, and having seen the shawl in question, it is just  beautiful. It would look gorgeous over a simple wedding dress, or over one of the pretty bright silk slip dresses I’m seeing right now. I really enjoy the Habibti Facebook fashion sales. People who really love fashion enjoy adding pieces to their wardrobes which have a story to tell.

The team behind Habibti Liverpool, who are all volunteers who give of their time and efforts freely, appreciate the support they receive through all of their fundraising initiatives, and their next fashion sale will give style hunters a chance to pick up some covetable pieces, knowing their purchases will really help a community which requires ongoing and sustained support.

To donate directly to raise funds for the Habibti Liverpool group go to:

The Habibti Ramadan fashion sale is live on their Facebook page at 7 pm on Saturday 9th April 2022:

You can also follow them on Insta at:

Nancy Buckland Kirk

About the author: Nancy Buckland Kirk is a writer with a keen interest in mental health, fashion and beauty and a career which has spanned modelling, teaching and spreading the word about leading beauty brands.

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