Afrin-Shehba Women’s Assembly develops projects to empower displaced women

Jiyan Restaurant

An all-women restaurant for women of Afrin who were forcibly displaced to Shehba due to the attacks and invasion by Turkey in 2018.

Kindergarten in Berxwedan Camp

Kindergarten in the Berxwedan camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Shahba.

Kindergarten in Serdem Camp

Kindergarten in the Serdem camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Shahba.

Textile workshop in Shehba

A co-operative textile workshop in the Shahba region.

This report was published by ANF English on 19 October, 2023

Afrin-Shehba Women’s Assembly develops projects to empower displaced women

Afrin-Shehba Women’s Assembly has been developing and realizing projects for women who were forcibly displaced from Afrin to Shehba in 2018 following the occupation of their homes by the Turkish state and Turkish-backed factions.

Aiming to promote women’s economic empowerment, the assembly has opened two kindergartens, a restaurant called ‘Jiyan’ and a tailor workshop in Shehba since 2018.

JINHA women news agency spoke to Emîne Mele Hesen, chairwoman of the assembly, and to women involved in the projects. 

In March 2018, thousands of people were forcibly displaced from Afrin due to the occupation of the Turkish state. “Displaced people have faced many challenges especially due to the siege imposed by the Syrian government. Despite everything, displaced women keep resisting. We aim to empower displaced women economically by developing projects. The aim of the projects is to support these women against high prices and poverty,” said Emîne Mele Hesen. 

Speaking about the projects that have been put into practice by the assembly, Hesen said: “We opened two kindergartens in the Serdem and Berxwedan IDPs camps in Shahba. These kindergartens aim to support working mothers. We also opened a restaurant called ‘Jiyan’ (Life) to provide financial support to displaced women. All employees of the restaurant are displaced women cooking traditional foods. The aim of these projects is to promote women’s economic empowerment. In addition, we opened a tailor workshop with the support of the Afrin Liberation Association. We had to close the workshop because we suffered from the lack of materials due to the siege. However, we plan to reopen it soon.”

Gulê Xelîl, a mother of two, works at the kindergarten opened in the Serdem camp. She said: “We take care of children from 8am to 4 pm. My husband is sick and cannot work, so I earn a living for my family by working here. I thank the Women’s Assembly for supporting women.”

‘I work for my children’ 

Suzan Qasim is an employee of the Jiyan Restaurant. She said: “I have to work to meet the needs of my children. I leave my children at home and come here to work every day. At the restaurant, we cook and serve cheaper traditional food.”