Women’s Assembly supports displaced women by developing projects

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.

Textile workshop in Shehba

A co-operative textile workshop in the Shahba region.

Kindergarten in Serdem Camp

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

Kindergarten in Berxwedan Camp

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

This report by Hesna Mihemed was published by Jinha Women’s News Agency on 7 September, 2023

Afrin-Shahba Women’s Assembly develops projects on Shahba to empower displaced women economically.

Afrin-Shehba Women’s Assembly has been developing and realizing projects for women, who were forcibly displaced from Afrin to Shahba in 2018 due to the occupation of the Turkish state and Turkish-backed factions. Aiming to promote women’s economic empowerment, the assembly has opened two kindergartens, a restaurant named ‘Jiyan’ and a tailor workshop in Shahba since 2018. NuJINHA spoke to Emîne Mele Hesen, chairperson of the assembly, and women carrying out the projects of the assembly. 

Five years ago, thousands 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 and realizing 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, she 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 named ‘Jiyan (English: 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, mother of two, works at the kindergarten opened in the Serdem camp. “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,” Gulê Xelîl told NuJINHA. 

‘I work for my children’ 

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

This video unfortunately does not contain English subtitles.