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Sheraton Bazar is a mix of stories all about Syrian woman’s struggle to go on

When we visited a Bazar held in Sheraton Damascus and talked to some participants and visitors, we heard several interesting and real stories about challenge, struggle, hope and frustration. Some of these stories show the strength  of woman and her determination to be an active person in society and to get money from small- or very small- business workshops.

Mrs. Lutfeyeh Shaloha, Executive Director of ‘Habbet Khardal’ Association for supporting women, told Syria Times e-newspaper that she alongside 14 women founded the association on July, 13, 2017.Their aim was to back women to make their own business in order to get money and to preserve their dignity.

“The idea of establishing the association was born when we saw women standing waiting in a long line for aid. We asked ourselves: why don't these women work to get money? We can hold free training courses for them and provide them with raw materials to produce handmade products and then to sell them,”  Mrs. Shaloha said, pointing out that the number of women registered in the association reached up to 500.

The association trains the registered women how to make jams, cheese, sweets and crochet toys. It also holds psychological support sessions and gives free medical consultations for the women.

“This association has gotten no profits since its foundation, and despite that it continues to offer support for all women who come to its headquarters in Bab Sharqi district in the old city of Damascus. It participates in Bazars to show the products of women and to sell them,” the executive director of the charity association said. 

 Another story was narrated by Mrs. Friend Rahmon, who decided to make accessories and to have her own brand in the market through establishing a very small workshop at her home. She produces very beautiful accessories after she gets raw materials from merchants on a loan and then she pays off the loan after selling the products.

“My husband supports me and he does not hinder my work,” Mrs. Rahmon said, referring to the fact that woman needs to act like a man when she decides to enter the market.

Two ladies were also participating in the Bazar and showing handmade accessories- rings, earrings, necklaces.

Positive energy

One of them, her name Fadia al-Mahmoud, told us that she likes accessories so much. So she and her sister started producing accessories a year ago at their home and selling them in Bazars. They are enjoying what they are doing although they don't get a lot of money from it.

Mrs. Armine Akinian, is another participant in the Bazar, and she displays  handmade embroideries and crochet napkins, sheets, pillows plus some products for babies. She started working at her home 6 years ago and she gives some work to women in need  in order to give them a chance to make money. She hopes to export her products abroad.

“I have turned my energy into a positive energy through my work as I make useful and beautiful products,” she said with a smile on her face.

The organizer of the Bazar, Mrs. Rana Tabba’a, described the event as a small market for showing different types of hand-made products and a good opportunity to make business.

“I feel happy when the participants sell their products, while I feel sad when they do not,” she said, referring to the fact that the Bazar includes 120 participants.

Mrs Tabba’a, who has more than 8- year experience in organizing Bazars, affirmed that the Bazars held during the war on Syria were opportunities for persons to share positive energy despite the pain. “persons  were waiting for mortars to stop falling  on Damascus to come to Bazars, challenging all circumstances”.

The three-day Bazar held in Sheraton Hotel in Damascus on August 3 –5 is just one example of a lot of similar events being held in many Syrian cities including more stories that must be reported in order to show how Syrian woman exerts every possible effort to go on regardless of all surrounding circumstances.

 

Interviewed by: Raghda Sawas & Basma Qaddour

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