After joining the women’s center at the Atme refugee camp on the Syrian-Turkish border, Umm Mahmood now earns enough money to support her family from her work in sewing and handicrafts.
“I heard that there is center teaching sewing and handicrafts and hairdressing, and aiming to empower women in the camp. I went there and learnt sewing, then I bought a specialized sewing machine to cover the needs of the camp’s women.”
Activities in the center, which aims to empower Syrian women through education, is not restricted to teaching women skills, but also provides lecture and workshops about early marriage, breast feeding and other issues related to women’s health.
One of the center’s trainers, M.R., who asked to remain anonymous, told Iqtissad that the service provides education on violence, important life and parenting skills, as well as training on family planning and ensuring a safe environment for children.
M.R. mentioned that the center targets girls from the age of 13 and up, while sessions about violence are provided to women over 25 years old.
The trainer mentioned that the center is witnessing a solid increase in attendance of girls and women, with numbers reaching up to 60-70 girls a day. She said one of the reasons for its popularity is that parents feel their girls are safe in the center as it is almost entirely run by women.
She explained that the center had already organized four exhibitions for the purpose of selling women’s work.
Despite the great effects of the women’s center in Atme, the service continues to lack support and a sustainable source of funding.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.