Turkey: Job prospects promote solidarity
There are almost four million Syrian refugees living in Turkey. A women’s cooperative provides stable incomes and a sense of shared identity.
For Hatice, her cooperative feels like home. She fled Syria for Turkey nine years ago. As the main breadwinner in her family, she had difficulty finding long-term employment in her host country until she heard about the cooperative. It sees 30 Syrian and Turkish women pursing the common goal of earning their own income by making pastes and powders out of vegetables and herbs. The members share equal responsibility for everything, from the practical work to business decisions and the logo.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH supports and advises cooperatives and start-ups like Hatice’s through vocational training measures such as language courses or job trainings. Commissioned by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the project places particular emphasis on promoting women. The programme boosts social cohesion across the board in the host communities by providing equal support to refugees, local residents and local companies. In cooperation with its partners, the project has reached 43,000 participants since January 2019.
Strength in numbers
Hatice has also benefited from the vocational training measures, having attended Turkish language courses and learned more about food processing and how to set up and run a cooperative. But for her, there is something far more important than the new employment prospects: ‘As Turks and Syrians, we discuss our experiences and learn from one another. We’ve come to realise that we all face the same challenges in life, regardless of where we are from.’