Women of the Lice Women’s Cooperative have rolled up their sleeves to make homemade tomato paste this month. The women work in solidarity with each other against the economic crisis.
The Lice Women’s Cooperative was established in the Lice district of Amed in 2019 to provide employment opportunities to women. When the cooperative was established, the members of the cooperative were seven and now 15 women take part in the cooperative. They make homemade products to earn a living for their families. The women have rolled up their sleeves to make homemade tomato paste this month.
Every season, these women make different homemade products. Since 2019, they have been in solidarity with each other despite all kinds of pressure and difficulties and become role models for all women in the district. After making tomato paste this month, the grape harvest will start for them next month.
‘They work in solidarity and earn a living’
Bedriye Dolak, the president* of the cooperative, told us that they felt happy when they saw women working together in solidarity. “Every season, we make many homemade products. At first, we were seven women but our number increased day by day. Working with women is very important and valuable. We all work together and produce together. We are in solidarity with each other in every facet of life,” said Bedriye Dolak.
This month, the members of the cooperative have been making tomato paste. “Making tomato paste will last for days,” Bedriye Dolak said, “We chop tomatoes after buying them from the people of the district. Then we place them on trays and keep them in the sun for days. Every day, we strain the tomatoes through a strainer. After making tomato paste, we will make churchkhela after grapes and nuts are harvested. Women work hard to make homemade products. We do our best to receive a recompense for our work.”
‘We have been making homemade tomato paste’
‘They resist the economic crisis’
The aim of the cooperative is to provide employment opportunities to women. “The cooperative supports women to make a living and to have a social space. There is no job opportunity for women in the district. The cooperative provides employment opportunities to women and a special space for women to spend time together. We earn a living while spending time together. We resist the economic crisis by being in solidarity with each other. The door of the cooperative is open for all women, who want to work.”
In her speech, Bedriye Dolak called on everyone to support the women of the cooperative by buying homemade tomato paste from them.
*The Kurdish the word ‘serok’ can be translated into English as any role that has responsibility, including president, coordinator, administrator, leader, chair, etc. The system of cooperatives as with all other democratic institutions usually includes two hevseroks, usually translated as ‘co-chairs’.