Two sisters run a carpentry workshop in Raqqa

This report was published on ANF English, 15 January, 2020

In Raqqa two sisters have broken the social norm and opened a carpentry workshop. They now work with eight employees. The business is doing well.

In Raqqa, sisters Sevsen and Betul al-Hamud broke with the social idea of “male professions” and opened a carpentry workshop. The two women are from Deir ez-Zor, the whole family has moved to Raqqa. 22-year-old Betul lives with her husband and two children. Her sister Sewsen, who is two years older, lives with her children with her parents. Her husband was killed in Deir ez-Zor by Islamists.

After moving to Raqqa, the sisters looked for work and trained for seven months in a carpentry workshop near the town hall. They liked the work and wanted to earn their living by it.

With the support of an aid organization working in Raqqa, they were able to rent a carpentry workshop. Since their family also supported them, the prejudices in society were no obstacle. Today, in addition to Sewsen and Betul, eight employees work in the carpentry workshop.

Betul al-Hamud says about her work: “We have many different wood products. On demand we make bedroom or office furniture. Business is good and our products are cheaper than elsewhere”.

The sisters plan to expand their workshop in the future and want to sign contracts with companies. Regarding the difficulties that arise in their professional work, Betul tells: “Of course there are difficulties in this work. For example, it is sometimes difficult to lift the furniture that is produced. The fact that society does not regard carpentry as a female profession has not influenced us. On the contrary, we work daily to develop ourselves further.”