Women produce protection face-masks and form bonds of friendship in Aleppo

Meet five women who have now earned both their livelihoods and quality of life by working at a Mission-supported center.

They lived in isolation during the Syrian civil war for fear of snipers and bombings. Then came the Corona Pandemic and they had to take further care not to get infected with the dreaded virus. And then their livelihoods were hit as jobs closed and soaring inflation caused food prices to rise at record speeds.

The Syrian women in Aleppo have been through a lot. But now they are experiencing a bright spot in life. In the Hanano district, Dorcas runs a civic center where women offer education and work in producing recyclable protective face-masks. It gives them an income to support their families. And as a bonus, they experience a break from isolation and meet new, friendly people with whom they form friendships.

So says a survey conducted by Dorcas, Mission East's partner organization.

"I go out and have made new friends"

“The workshop made a big impression on me. I started collaborating with the other employees and also came out more. It is my goal in life to learn something more, and the workshop has helped me to do that,” says Hasna´, who is a nurse but had to stop nursing when the war began.

“I got better and better at sewing and meeting new people that I like. Now the work passes easily and I like being here, says Chamsa, who was displaced from her home with her family and found a place to live in Aleppo.” She continues:

"Everything has changed. I used to have problems at home, but it's over now. I'm going out and making new friends. Everything is fine now.”

"I've got a lot better"

Sana´ supplements:

"Everyone I meet is kind to me. My lifestyle has changed, I am coming out more and I have gained a stable income. I always look forward to attending the center and being with my colleagues. ”

Hoda agrees:

"I am very happy that I can now support my family and my children. I'm fine and it's a lot easier to get out now and be social and make new friends.”

Kafa´ supplements:

“The center is a good place to be, and my experiences here have made me feel much better. In addition to getting money to support my family and children.”

Room for women with disabilities

At the center of Aleppo's northeastern Hanano district, each woman can produce up to 300 recyclable protection masks a day. In addition to earning a living and making new friends, they are also helping to stop the virus epidemic among their fellow citizens in Aleppo.

And there is also room for women with disabilities in the production process. Hasna´ is deaf and therefore did not think she would be admitted to the workshop:

"I signed up, even though I was deeply insecure, and was admitted. And then in one week I learned to sew different stitches. I am very grateful for all the offers you have for me here!”

Facts: The Citizens' Center in Aleppo

The UN reported on 24 September 2021 that 350,209 people had been killed in the Syrian conflict from March 2011 to March 2021, including 26,727 women and 27,126 children. Aleppo district recorded the largest number of fatalities.

Mission East's partner organization Dorcas runs a civic center in Aleppo's northeastern Hanano district. Here, 275,000 people were besieged by the Syrian government troops in 2016, until the city fell. Today, the population come out of their isolation, and at the center, they receive psychosocial support and help to learn a profession or start a business in order to support themselves.