The Taiwan - Reyhanli Centre for World Citizens​

"Project 1001 Wang" Refugee Women’s Empowerment Project

With the financial crisis, refugee crisis, and COVID-19 pandemic, more than 75% of women in Reyhanli are unemployed, most of whom are widows or wives of incapacitated husbands. Local NGOs have tried to help these women by teaching them to work in handicrafts, but they face two major problems: most of the products cannot be sold due to the lack of market, and the profits are too low, with middle-market traders already having taken most of the interests. This creates a dilemma for the NGOs, as they need to make money to survive but cannot find a way to sell their products at a fair price.

The Taiwan Reyhanli Centre saw an opportunity to help these women and improve the situation. They collaborated with five local NGOs and bought yarn and hook needles out of their own pocket to teach women how to knit kittens and puppies. They decided to teach the women drawing and design skills first, starting with animals like dogs and cats. The Taiwan Reyhanli Centre believes that every woman should be an artist and have their own original design and style. By providing a fair salary for each bath bag that the women knit, the Taiwan Reyhanli Centre is able to help these women earn money from home while taking care of their children and doing housework.

The Taiwan Reyhanli Centre also emphasizes the importance of giving these women a voice by shooting documentaries and letting them tell their stories through the small animals they have woven. This is a significant step for these women, as showing their faces is considered defiant and contrary to the teachings of conservative Islam. However, they are aware that no one has listened to their voices for so long, and they need to speak up not just for themselves and their families but also for the millions of displaced refugees still struggling in Syria. The Taiwan Reyhanli Centre hopes that by helping these women, they can make a small contribution to the cause.

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