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Syrian Women In Refugee Camps Are Provided With Work
Dana Kaddalaft is the founder of Tight-Knit Syria, a grassroots organization founded in 2013. During a visit to the Olive Tree Camp in Northern Syria, several girls she met revealed their love of knitting. Talking to the refugee women, she realized that she could help the women.
“This is something they’ve learned from their mothers and their grandmothers,” she said. “These skills are one of the only things they’ve brought with them from Syria.”
Syria has a rich heritage of traditional skills such as knitting, crocheting, sewing and embroidering. With over 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, work is scarce and very few professions are open to women.
The UN and NGOs can provide very little assistance as they lack funding. Basic necessities such as milk powder for the children, are no longer affordable.
Born to Syrian parents who emigrated 25 years ago to Canada, Kandalaft comments:
Making and selling handiwork is the “most realistic” way for woman in the refugee camps to earn money for their families, she said. Syrian refugees are forbidden to legally work in Lebanon and under-the-table jobs are mostly in construction and hard for men to come by. Kids often fill the gaps, shining shoes or selling things like flowers or tissues on the street, she said.
Tight-Knit Syria is a social enterprise organization that provides wool to the Syrian women in the refugee camps. They pay the women for knitting and then sell their creations. You can find out more about Tight-Knit Syria from their website.