15. April 2021 – 

BACK TO LIFE SHOP ALUMNI TRAIN NEWBIES

The team that recently completed their work experience at HÁWAR.help’s BACK TO LIFE Shop are currently tasked with onboarding a new cohort of four women. They will spend the next three months gaining work experience at the shop. Besides ensuring a smooth handover, this process reinforces the women’s ownership of the project.

The BACK TO LIFE Women’s Empowerment Center, located in a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) near Duhok was founded in 2018. As a multi-faith and multi-ethnic space, it gives many Yazidi women who were forced to flee from their ancestral homeland of Sinjar in 2014, as well as displaced Christian and Muslim women the chance to come together, heal from their traumas and take part in handicraft or literacy courses, alongside a range of empowerment workshops. The skills acquired here are a crucial stepping stones for a more independent and self-determined life and help empower women to create new opportunities for themselves.

One of these skills is sewing. Through each cycle, a class of 30 women learns how to make their own dresses, repair clothes, along with other basic sewing skills. At the end of the course the best four pupils are chosen based on four criteria: motivation, talent, attendance and punctuality. They’re offered the opportunity to receive practical training at the BACK TO LIFE Shop, where they sell the clothes they and the other women have crafted.

This experience is incredibly valuable to the women: it not only boosts their CV, but also their self-confidence! Beyond learning about shop management and customer service, the salary they earn secures their financial independence for a period of time. Moreover, the alumni take great pride in teaching the newbies. Training them is a means of giving back to their classmates and community more broadly. We are grateful that BACK TO LIFE can rely on its dedicated pupils to pass on the baton and keep the project moving forward.

After completing the program, our alumna Nadhifa even went on to open up her very own clothing store. We are inspired by her story and are convinced that many others will follow in her footsteps. That’s why we wish our new cohort of women all the best for their training and their future!

BACK TO LIFE relies on its partners: the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, GIZ and Deutsche Postcode Lotterie, we thank them for their support.