About Designers United Initiative
Designers United is an initiative that executes projects in various parts of the world. It works with women with limited incomes to establish systems that work towards sustainable development by eliminating poverty. The initiative runs projects designed to achieve the equal participation of women in community life and conducts educational activities towards that aim. The initiative consists of local and foreign NGOs, designers, project sponsors and individuals.
Although Rania was an art teacher in Syria, she is unable to continue teaching in Turkey due to accreditation issues. When she and her husband came to Turkey, her husband was arrested in the airport and detained for four months. Rania knew no one who could help her in Turkey. It was during these difficult days that a hopeless Rania found SPI and the Palmyra Design Project. Through SPI’s help, Rania was able to build a life in Turkey and began working with other women in the Palmyra Design Project. Rania has a son living in Germany whom she really wants to be able to see and hug. Rania continues to work in the hope that she may one day be reunited with her family.
Amal is a 42 year old Palestinian woman who had lived in Damascus, Syria before coming to Turkey. A mother of two boys and two girls, Amal had a very good life in Syria. Her two daughters were famous professional musicians. Although Amal came to Turkey with her children, her husband is still in Syria and is unable to come to Turkey. Amal lives with two of her children in Istanbul, and because life in Istanbul is difficult, Amal must work to support them. After having sent one of her daughters and one of her sons to Germany so that they might finish their education and build a good life for themselves, Amal hopes that one day she may gain permission to reside in Germany so that she may again live together with them. However, even if Amal were to go to Germany, her other children living Turkey would be unable to come with her. As a result, Amal is very sad and in search of a solution. While living in Istanbul, Amal learned about SPI and that women could work there. After hearing that she could work in SPI, she visited SPI and learned about the Palmyra Design Project. “After having been chosen as a manager for the Palmyra Design Project, this place has become my family in Istanbul,” says Amal. Amal’s biggest hope is to one day be reunited with all of her family and live together with them.
I am a 37 year old mother of two children who lives together with her family in Soma, Turkey. My husband works in the mines here. After being trapped for ten hours under rubble after the mining disaster in 2014, my husband was recovered, albeit injured. Difficult times began for us after that disaster, but the Soma Artisans project has been a breath of fresh air for me. The friendships I have made and the project’s environment has really helped me to psychologically recover. We share our problems with each other while working and I am able to help support my child as a result of the income I am earning. It is my hope that this project will continue to grow and reach other women.
I am a 40 year old mother of two. My husband works in the mines of Soma, Turkey. I joined the Soma Artisans through the Contemporary Living Support Society (TR: ÇYDD). At first, I was worried about whether I could handle it, whether I could work with foreign designers, and whether I could really do it. Now, I’m happy that I joined. I’m very happy to be a part of this project and to have made the friends that I have. I really love all of them and they are all a great support to me. After the mining disaster and after having lost my mother, the project has been a source of relief for me. My female friends who have heard about this project also want to join this project. It makes me really happy to be the means for these women to begin working. I am able to help support my family as a result of this work. I hope that this project will continue to be successful in its endeavors.
I am a 38 year old mother of two. My husband works in the mines of Soma, Turkey. I learned about the Soma Artisans project from a friend and have been working with them since October of 2016. Working has been a source of relief for me. This is the first time that I’ve worked, and my confidence has increased. We’re like a family here. I’ve made great friends and compared to the past, I live a much more active life. I’m also very happy to witness this project continue to grow and not only want to see it continue to do so, but also receive increased support.
I am a 51 year old mother of two. My husband is a retired miner who used to work in the mines of Soma, Turkey. I had never worked before participating in this project. Because I had participated in many Public Education courses sponsored by the Turkish Ministry of Education and because I was interested in handcrafts, I was considered as the perfect candidate for this project. However, since my husband was a retired miner, I wasn’t a good fit for this project. However, due to my interest in handcrafts and the education that we received at the beginning of the project, I was selected to be a manager for this project. At the beginning of the project, we received comments from the greater community concerning how to run it. We did this because a number of similar projects had been started in Soma, but none of them continued for long. Now, there are many women who want to join the Soma Artisans project. As a result of the project, not only have I been able to help meet both my children’s and my own financial needs, my social circle and self-confidence have also increased. We continue to hope for this project’s continued growth so that women may be able to work together and support each other.