Helping Displaced Women Turn Talent into Income

In displacement camps, residents face numerous challenges, from the trauma of being forced to flee their homes to managing life with limited access to resources and income. Challenges can be compounded for women, who often take on the responsibility of caring for their children alone after losing their husbands or being separated due to conflict. These circumstances significantly impede their ability to rebuild their lives.

Khawla and Sabah, two women in a displacement camp in northeast Syria, were able to earn an income through tireless perseverance and with the support of our community mobilization team. This team, which is helping camp residents build skills and income opportunities, is part of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management in Northeast Syria program, funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

two women sitting in front of hanging clothing

With a handful of materials and some support, women in the camp are able to transform their skills into a sustainable source of income.

After leaving Iraq, Khawla struggled to support her six children alone. She turned to sewing, inspired by her mother’s teachings, and received some basic materials—thread, wool, and a few fabrics—from the community mobilization team to start her endeavor. Khawla began creating and fixing clothing for women and children in the camp, and quickly found success.

The income Khawla now earns has enabled her to afford basic necessities and save some money, transforming her family’s life in the camp. With renewed hope and ambition, Khawla recently invested in a sewing machine that will allow her to expand her business.

handmade clothing on display

On Women’s Day, teams put together an exhibition showcasing the products made by women in the camp. Khawla had the opportunity to exhibit her clothing, pictured, and received ample support from the community.

Sabah found herself in a similar situation—taking care of seven children without resources or confidence. Her circumstances started to change after a visit from the community mobilization team. They encouraged Khawla to use her cooking and baking skills as a livelihood and provided her with materials to kickstart her project.

After receiving an oven and ingredients, Sabah’s sweets and food quickly gained popularity among her neighbors. She takes pride in using her cooking abilities to support her family and bring joy to the community.

woman placing a cake in the oven

With the help of the community mobilization team, Sabah found her passion for cooking and baking and turned it into a successful business.

Sabah’s success and newfound confidence have inspired her to grow her business. Using some of her income, she plans to purchase new equipment to increase her production and reach even more customers.

Women like Khawla and Sabah can carry on in even the most challenging circumstances. They are changing their lives and improving the well-being of their families and communities when provided with access to resources and support.

In Khawla’s words: “Women can be successful in every field. We can overcome all the challenges we face, no matter how difficult they are.”

three cakes with decorative icing

Sabah’s delicious baked goods bring joy to entire blocks in the camp and income for her family.