Women who received entrepreneurship training under the project implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Turkey Office to promote women’s employment, now provide training “as role models” to Syrian refugee women and host country women in the context of work on employment of Syrian Under Temporary Protection in another ILO project.
Ms. Elif Asav, following her participation in the “Women Entrepreneurship Promotion Programme” under the project “More and Better Jobs for Women”, started up own business “BAMBAŞKA ATÖLYE (a wholly different workshop)” in Ankara. Bambaşka Atölye provides hourly/daily care and education services to children. She shared her entrepreneurship experience and knowledge with Syrian and host country women in the “Role Model Seminars” organised in Gaziantep on 15-16 January 2018 under another ILO project “Gaziantep Women-Only Centre” which aimed to contribute to social and economic stability of Syrian women and girls in Gaziantep.
Success stories motivate and guide Syrian women
Ms. Elif Asav shared interactively with other women her entrepreneurship story resulting in the start-up of a childcare centre that she names “home of trust” through financing support from KOSGEB in the sessions with four groups of participants each approximately sixty women in SADA Women Development and Solidarity Centre operating as a special service office for Syrian and host country women established under the project “Gaziantep Women-Only Centre: Providing Livelihood Support”.
Event represents a joint output of two ILO projects
The event organised by ILO Ankara Office was designed as a joint output of two projects focusing on women’s employment considering that women participating in seminars would identify their own stories with such success stories in business life which would be motivating and guiding in deploying in the labour markets their knowledge and experience acquired through courses delivered under ILO project.
“I believe in woman power”
Upon learning that participants also included women who wished to start up own business, Ms. Asav stated that “I never gave up being myself despite all odds and wanted to say I did exist in this environment of male hegemony”. Expressing the challenges of being a woman in the male-dominated business world, she also emphasised the importance of women’s existence in work life, stating that “I believe in woman power”.
Ms. Asav also explained how her friends and colleagues created a social support network to assist her.
“Being a woman and a migrant is challenging on the road to business life”
While the sessions flowing as questions & answers unearthed similar women’s stories, Syrian women stressed that they encountered two obstacles, namely being a woman and a migrant, on their journey of trying to get a foot in business life.
Noting their wish to acquire skills also on job finding techniques in the vocational training courses, Syrian women indicated that they were in the labour force in their own countries with their existing vocations; however, they suffered skills losses due to such facts that following their migration to Turkey, they failed to find jobs in Turkey in their own field and some vocations had no equivalents in Turkey or they did not how to obtain equivalencies.
“No cooking without burn. Mere course completion will not do.”
The woman entrepreneur Elif Asav responded to questions from Syrian women particularly as to how they could start own business saying that “No cooking without burn (i.e. one will not mature, or get experience, without undergoing toils of the process). Mere course completion will not do. One must work at a job and learn the minutest details. Everyone must do what she best knows.” She defined possessing additional experience as “to know what work to do where, and whom to touch.”
ILO projects promote women’s employment
Ms. Elif Asav received entrepreneurship training under the project “More and Better Jobs for Women” implemented by ILO and Turkish Employment Agency (ISKUR) with financing support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). Having started in 2013 and expected to finish in June 2018, the project aims at supporting the development of an inclusive and holistic policy at national scale to increase and promote women’s employment, creating decent work opportunities for women through active labour market policies, building awareness on gender equality and labour standards, and supporting women’s empowerment in Turkey.
SADA Women Development and Solidarity Centre established under the project “Gaziantep Women-Only Centre: Providing Livelihood Support” jointly implemented by ILO Turkey Office, UNWomen and SGDD with financing from the Government of Japan operates as a special service office for Syrian and host country women. Distinct from the existing community centres, the centre is “women-only” and aims to reach out and include the most vulnerable women through serving the most marginalised. The objective is to enable women and girls using the centre to have stronger self-confidence and skills and access various training and job placement programmes in Gaziantep.