For over one year now the women’s handicraft collective has been a core program of SPI activities.
We’ve faced a steep learning curve to build this program into a sustainable income generation scheme, and we are still on our way. With the input from so many valuable partners and donors, this project has slowly been becoming more and more successful and recently has been transformed into our Women’s Skills Development Program, to reflect the fact that its objectives and activities are about much more than just producing handicrafts that are can be sold worldwide while garnering a profit (which is already a big feat!).
On Thursday 6th of April, I was privileged to attend the second steering committee of the TAMEB project within which SPI has recently commenced a new project as part of our Women’s Skills Development Program through a partnership with Global Project Partners. The meeting included the TAMEB project coordinators and representatives from all the sub projects, so I was able to learn more about their activities and also promote SPI’s work.
It was exciting and inspiring to hear about all the plans and projects underway throughout Turkey in relation to the skills development and vocational training agenda of the TAMEB project. It was also incredibly energizing for me, in relation to the preparation and implementation of plans that we are beginning to achieve in relation to our complete Women’s Program.
A year on since our Drop Earrings Not Bombs collective began production, this progression of samples demonstrate what group progress and creative development look like
Our project, in partnership with Global Project Partners is all about improving our Women’s Skills Development Program as a whole, in order to offer a more comprehensive range of activities including entrepreneurship and small business management skills, and mentoring and leadership support. Within the scope of the project we are also working with a professional product designer, Ellen, to improve our product range and develop our marketing strategy for increased sales, which in the end is all about improving the income and livelihoods of the women participating in the project.
There are currently 80 women producing our range of accessories and textiles products, taking part in Turkish classes and attending other workshops. We hope with the increased resources from this partnership project we will be able to double the number of women impacted by the activities, and also improve the depth of impact, so that the women involved can become more financially secure.
The support this new project is offering our women’s group has increased the energy within our Community Center in a tangible way and is creating a real buzz and excitement! Personally I can’t wait to see what amazing outcomes this combination of energy and resources can produce, and I am so proud of our women’s group for proving themselves capable of professionalizing and developing themselves in this way.
For me it is the proof of the value of investment in community, investment in individuals, and investment in women, which makes all the difference and helps our community make another small step in the fulfillment of our shared hopes for the future.
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