Shirine Khoury-Haq attempts to help her nation in crisis through personal and professional endeavors.
Today, it has become more important than ever that people with privilege conduct themselves in such a way that they can make the world a better place due to their privileged position in comparison to others. This is what Shirine Khoury-Haq is attempting to do by not only cutting down on personal luxuries but by teaching her next generation to be individuals who are sympathetic to the struggles of others, reports Sunday Times.
On Christmas, it is tradition to give gifts to children. Many parents indulge in a lot of spending in order to make the festival a joyful affair for their children. But Khoury-Haq refuses to do so, even though as a millionaire she has the capability of showering her children with hundreds of gifts. In her own words she “cannot in good conscience” shower her children with gifts when her country is suffering through a horrible living crisis. This living crisis has led to inflation and an uncontrollable increase in energy bills.
Shirine Khoury-Haq is a businesswoman who last year was appointed as the Chief Executive position of the Co-Operative Group. The Co-operative Group functions in the UK and runs establishments like supermarkets and funeral homes, and provides insurance as well as legal services. Alongside being a businesswoman taking home a salary of almost 1 million dollars, Khoury-Haq is also a mother of 6-year-old twin girls. Though she loves them beyond measure, she is determined to make them learn the value of money. Hence, each of her twins receives only one gift in their stockings during Christmas.
Khoury-Haq and her husband have decided to use their holiday budget instead to help parents who are struggling to provide for their children amidst the ongoing crisis. She expresses that though gifts bring joy it is unnecessary to buy so many of them as ultimately they lead to “too many toys that you then just play with one or two times and then give away or break.” On being asked about her reasoning to cut back, especially on the gifts to her twins, the CEO responded that it felt wrong to give her daughters so much as gifts when people out there are even struggling for basic necessities. Since 2021 the UK has been facing a humongous increase in cost-of-living which is progressively becoming difficult for civilians, especially those who belong to the lower income group to handle.
In the UK, 4.3 million households are struggling to pay for the basic necessities, with many of them forced to compromise on important requirements. Khoury-Haq wants to use her wealth to help these families. Therefore after giving her daughters one gift each, she along with her family take a trip to a gift shop in order to buy things for children whose parents cannot afford to buy them a present.
She is also attempting to make a change through her professional capacity by convincing her Co-Operative Group to promote Your Local Pantry, a subsidized supermarket. These pantries with the help of food banks, donations and supermarket surplus allow struggling families to buy up to 10 items at an affordable cost of £3.50 (about $4.45) a week. Khoury-Haq's act of sharing her privilege instead of enjoying it all by herself is truly inspiring.