02/06/2014 - 23:00
Women joining the economy in Rojava

23 Kurdish and Arab women, most of them displaced from cities such as Aleppo, Damascus, al-Raqqah and Idlib, are working in the Warsin Cooperative in the city of Qamislo (Qamishli) in Rojava to support their families.

In Rojava the people are engaged in a struggle to establish a new life. Women are playing a central role in this struggle. As the revolution develops, women are getting involved in all sectors that were previously reserved for men, from defence, to health, education, the justice system and agriculture.

Women coming together within the Yekitiya Star women organisation are setting up cooperatives, such as the Warsin Work Centre, where 23 of the 25 employees are women.

Many of the women at the centre have taken refuge in Rojava after being displaced from other parts of Syria.

Naima Bektas, a representative of the centre, said that they aimed in particular to give women migrants in Rojava the opportunity to participate in working life.

The Warsin centre began last year with 2 machines and 4 workers, but now has 40 machines and 25 employees making clothes for the Cizire Canton.

Bektas said the women worked 8 hours a day and had a share in the products, adding that they intended to enlarge operations and employ more women soon.

The centre produces 2,000 pieces of clothing a week, doing all its own cutting, sewing and other processes.

Fatma Sihade, an Arab woman from Idlib who works at Warsin, talked of her experience. "We came to Qamislo on account of the conflict in Syria. They gave me the opportunity to work here and didn't discriminate against me because I'm Arab. I want a Syria where Arabs and Kurds can live together fraternally."

Cihan Mihamed, another worker at Warsin, is one of thousands who fled from ISIS gangs in Reqa (al-Raqqah) and took refuge in Qamislo. She said: "Following the recent clashes in Reqa and because of the oppression by ISIS gangs, our family came to Qamislo. If the women at the Warsin work centre hadn't given me the opportunity to work, we would now be in a refugee camp."

Abdulaziz Ahmed fled from Aleppo to Qamislo. Ahmed is the oldest child in the family and is responsible for looking after his family.

He thanked the women at Warsin for giving him the chance to work. "Thanks to this job, I am able to look after my family," he added.

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