Project by Kongra Star provides employment to women in Washokani camp

This report by Ronîda Hacî was published by Jinha Women’s News Agency on 3 June, 2024

The bakery project called “Tenûra Îştar” started by Kongra Star Economy Committee in Washokani camp aims to provide employment to displaced women living in the camp.

Hasakah – On October 9,2019, the Turkish state attacked Serêkaniyê (Ras al-Ayn), displacing thousands, including women and children. The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) built an IDP camp called Washokani camp for the displaced people of Serêkanîyê. In 2023, Kongra Star Economy Committee opened a bakery called “Tenûra Îştar” to support displaced women and create the spirit of communal life in the camp. Three women working at the bakery bake fresh bread between 4 and 7 a.m. and between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. every day.

‘Many women need to work to earn a living’

The bakery is the source of living for women living in Washokani camp, said Hesîna Elî, an employee of the bakery. “I am one of the displaced people from Serêkaniyê’s Til Thiyab village. We had to leave our village due to the Turkish attacks and settled in Washokani camp. In the camp, many women need to work to earn a living. This bakery provides employment to us and offers cheap bread to all displaced people in the camp.”

‘We work with a common spirit’

“We work together with a common spirit,”Hesîna Elî said, adding, “We are three women working at the bakery. We bake flatbread by being in solidarity with each other. We want to expand our business to bake tandoori bread. The challenge we face is that we bake bread over an open fire even in summer. We need more space to expand our business.”

‘Ishtar is a goddess who creates life’

Speaking about the name of the bakery, Hesîna Elî said, “The bakery is named after Ishtar. Ishtar is a goddess who creates life. We named the bakery after Ishtar because Ishtar has a special place in our heart. Throughout history, women have developed agriculture, baked bread and played an important role in their societies. Before women could not participate in the labor force because working was shameful for women. After the revolution in Rojava, women began to participate in the labour force by breaking gender stereotypes. I express my support to all women working to earn a living. We thank the Kongra Star Economy Committee for supporting displaced women.”