Middle East

Syrian women make toys for living in Turkey’s Hatay

Life become more affordable with making toys, Syrian widow toy makers say

Cem Genco   | 17.07.2019
Syrian women make toys for living in Turkey’s Hatay

HATAY, Turkey 

Syrian women in southern province of Hatay make their living by producing and selling hand-made toys to other provinces across Turkey, the work shop manager told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.

At a toy atelier opened in 2017 in Hatay’s Reyhanli district with the help of Turkish humanitarian aid agency IHH and Qatar’s RAF foundation, 15 Syrian women who lost their spouses have been making knitted toys, Khalid Qadour, head of the work shop, said.

The all-female crew produced 3,000 toys last year, and all of them were sold out, Qadour said.

“Hand-crafted animal toys are delivered other parts of the country, their prices range from 20 to 30 Turkish lira. We promote them on social media,” Qadour said and added that the workshop’s target by the end of this year is to produce 10,000 stuffed toys.

Fadila Haj Redvan, 40, mother of four, said making toys helps her not only financially but also psychologically.

“I fled to Turkey after I lost my husband in an air attack in Aleppo. We started a new life here and what I earn from toys has helped me a lot,” she added.

Salam Alsellum, 41, mother of three, whose husband was also killed three years ago, said she now can afford her family by making toys.

“It takes two hours to make a toy ready and we share what we earn equally,” she explained.

Syrians make up the largest number of refugees in Turkey with around 3.6 million, followed by Afghans with 164,351, Iraqis with 142,576, Iranians with 37,732, Somalis with 5,518, and 11,515 refugees of other nationalities.

According to the Turkish Interior Ministry, 96.51% of Syrians live in provinces -- mainly in Istanbul, Sanliurfa, Hatay, Gaziantep, Mersin and Adana while 3.49% live in refugee camps.

Turkey has spent more than $30 billion on caring for refugees since the start of the Syrian crisis in March 2011.

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