WPMarket Co-Founder and Managing Director Rachel Hartgen shares how we started partnering with an artisan group in Syria.
Now in its sixth year, the conflict in Syria continues.
More than 250,000 people have been killed from the conflict (UN). Roughly 13 million people have been displaced: over 5.8 million have fled the country and another 7 million have been displaced internally, of whom at least 4.5 million are in dire need of humanitarian assistance (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
For context, 13 million displaced is roughly the size of the entire population of the state of Illinois being forced to pick up and leave their home.
The majority of those killed in the conflict have been young men. Many others have also left the country, seeking safer refuge where they can. Still others are fighting or are in Syrian government prisons. The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting reports,
“The result is a permanent demographic hole in the Syrian population. It's women, especially those who might have wanted to get married or to have children, who've been left behind.”
Women from poorer communities, who beforehand were largely confined to roles within the home, are now often the sole providers, left to support themselves, their children and other family members, including many elderly. Women in rural areas who once lived on subsistence farming have now been displaced into urban areas and have lost their livelihoods, finding their skills insufficient. Even those with relevant skills face limited economic opportunity and constrained markets.
Wanting to help in even a small way, we (WPMarket) set out to learn more about the status of the artisan economy in Syria. To no surprise, we found that these types of livelihood restoration projects are now in high demand in an attempt to provide any alternative income possible for women using skills they already have and teaching new skills where possible.
In our search, we learned of Rania Kinge of Damascus Concepts and her I LOVE SYRIA initiative to empower displaced women in Syria. Rania’s specialty product line features jewelry and accessories created by internally-displaced Syrian women who are now living in shelters in Damascus. Not only does the program allow them to earn money, but it also gives the women a place of refuge, sisterhood, and hope.
We are honored to feature two bracelets from their line, including the Lilith Bracelet which is this month’s featured campaign. We are also working with the group to design two new beautiful, unique wrap bracelets that we hope to launch later this Summer! Best of all 70% of sales from these bracelets is returned to the artisan group to continue their work.
Additionally, please check out how you can learn more about them and upcoming campaigns to support their work here.
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