About this project
The purchase of ONE RUG
Will empower and employ ONE REFUGEE
For up to ONE YEAR.
10,000 refugees lived in Turkey in 2012. Within five years, as the Syrian conflict raged and destroyed lives, the number of refugees has swelled to over 3 million.
The vast majority of these refugees struggle to find the work necessary to support their families and provide meaning in their own lives. They are forced to depend on others for their own well-being.
The Anka Cooperative is a social enterprise created to empower Syrian women refugees by teaching them transferable skills, providing them dignifying work, and enabling cultural integration into their new society through the creation of fine carpets and traditional crafts.
We currently empower 250 weavers in two camps. By pledging for a world-class quality carpet through this campaign, you'll allow us to expand into a third refugee camp and employ more weavers.
This Kickstarter will sustain our initiative and move us towards our goal of impacting 20,000 refugees by 2020.
We have partnered with Woven Legends, an industry leader for decades, to make the highest quality rugs in the world.
Wool: we only use hand spun, lanolin rich wool sourced from sheep free grazing in Eastern Anatolia. The wool is never treated to chemicals through the cleaning process, resulting in lustrous and stronger yarn, giving the finished rug a glowing aura that will last for a century or more.
Dyes: we only use the highest quality natural, vegetal dyes. Naturally-dyed carpets will not fade and the colors will never run––they blend poetically and the color and richness will last for generations.
Weaving: we partner with master craftswomen to train, supervise, and instruct our weavers. Progress and quality are examined multiple times per day. Our refugee weavers respond well to the challenge of learning this skill.
Finishing: when a rug is finally cut from the loom after months of weaving, we triple wash the rug using cold water, then press it to ensure it retains its intended shape.
The Anka Cooperative has already had an extraordinary impact on women’s lives.
One of these women is Neriman from Damascus. Neriman is in her early 40s and has six children. Unlike many of her unfortunate relatives, she made it safely to the Adiyaman refugee camp in Southeastern Turkey. Neriman is college educated, and prior to the war she worked for many years as an accountant. But in the camps, of course, there are no accounting jobs, no freelancer websites to apply her trade. Idle time brings painful memories. She jumped at the chance to work at the carpet workshop. It’s a new skill, but she is learning––and just as important, she is earning.
Neriman is paid the same as her Turkish counterparts. She is saving to buy gold earrings for her daughters, and hopes to save for a home for when they return to Syria. Neriman represents the 250 Anka weavers who have chosen to make the best of their difficult circumstances, and are the reason Anka exists.
Where We Work
Sanliurfa: The Sanliurfa camp has a capacity 10,000 and a current population 14,000 living in containers. The camp has paved streets, lighting, water, sewer, A/C, and even a TV. It's a secure facility but residents can come and go as they please. The weaving workshop is in an activity center that also houses an art room, restrooms and laundry facilities. We employ 25-30 weavers in a well lit and ventilated hall with windows and A/C.
Adiyaman: The Adiyaman camp has a capacity of 20,000 and a current population 29,000 living in tents. It has paved streets, lighting, water, sewer, A/C, and TV. It's also a secure facility but residents can come and go as they please. The weaving workshops are in six tents. We employ 225 weavers in a well lit and ventilated tents with windows and A/C.
Coming in 2017, Gaziantep: This campaign will allow us to expand. We have been approached by camp management to expand our training and empowerment model the refugee camp in Gaziantep, Turkey. This expansion will cost the Anka Cooperative over $100,000 for looms, supplies, training, transportation, instruction, etc.
The Three Pillars of The Anka Cooperative
Empowerment Through Employment: The weavers love their work, not only for the income, but also because it provides companionship and a place to share laughs and to stay active. As a skilled weaver can weave up to 10 sq feet per month, an 9'x12' rug will employ one weaver for nearly one year. Weavers are paid the exact same as Turkish weavers.
Cultural Integration: The Anka Cooperative helps refugees learn traditional Turkish language, culture and customs by learning the craft of weaving and by interacting daily with Turkish teachers. We partner with other charities to expand our reach beyond the refugee camps.
Education & Awareness: We use our proceeds to support charitable organizations that tell stories of refugees' lives and struggle for dignity. We further strive to share our fundamental belief that empowerment and dignity comes from work, not a handout. We teach women to fish, we don't give them fish.
$25: Rug Coasters
$50: Framed Rug Fragment
$250: Carpet Christmas Stockings
Stunning and meaningful Christmas stockings are made from world class handwoven rug fragments.
We have a variety of already woven rugs we are offering as rewards. See them below, and click on each tier link to see more options. You will be able to pick your rug during the survey after the campaign.
$500: Petite Rugs (up to 2x3 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.
$1,000: Small “Teach her How to Fish”, Ushak or other Rug (up to 3x5 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.
$2,500: Medium Firework, Runner or other rug (up to 3x12 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.
$5,000: Large Folklife, Tribal, or other rug (up to 7x9 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.
$7500: Grand Ushak, Heriz, or other rug (up to 8x10 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.
$9,850: Extra grand Heriz, Khotan or other rug (up to 10x14 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.
$15,000: Fouier Carpet (up to 11x15 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.
$25,000: Museum Carpet (up to 12x18 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.
$35,000: Palace Carpet (up to 15x20 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.
We have been recently asked by the refugee camp management to expand our empowerment and employment model in Gaziantep, Turkey. While we're thrilled about the possibility of helping so many more refugees, the cost of establishing a new operation is challenging. Kickstarter provides us a unique platform to raise awareness about our approach to sustainably helping refugees.
Fatima, Hind and all the refugees we work with
Fatima and Hind both arrived in the Sanliurfa refugee camps almost in 2012. After a struggle of several months, Hind came to the camp from her hometown of Hama––a city which dates back to Biblical times. Fatima arrived from Edlin––this town was one of the first to rebel against the Assad regime. Since they began weaving in 2013 they have become the very best of friends. Both in their mid 30s, the ladies enjoy their work as they laugh and socialize. They represent the 250 Anka weavers that have chosen to make the best of their difficult circumstances. It’s an honor to have them on our team, as they are our reason Anka exists.
Neslihan, CoFounder and Volunteer CEO
As the founder of Woven Legends, Neslihan has been producing high quality, hand-crafted carpets for over 35 years and has won numerous international awards for her carpets which are considered to be among the finest in the world. Neslihan has often been credited with birthing the rug renaissance in 1980’s by exclusive use of handspun wool and natural dyes.
In 2012, she approached local officials in Turkey in order to teach weaving skills to Syrian refugee women at the camps. As an American and a native Turk, Neslihan feels a personal and moral obligation to support the Syrian refugees in Turkey. Through Anka, she has pioneered the idea of sustaining their livelihoods by promoting the art of carpet weaving. Her personal rapport with the refugees convinced her that Anka can expand from serving 250 refugee women to empowering 20,000 refugees by 2020.
Neslihan has one son, Kent, and considers the tens of thousands of women she has empowered over the decades as her many daughters.
Josh, CoFounder and Volunteer Chief Strategy Officer
Having lived, worked and volunteered on four continents, Josh brings a global and practical approach to helping fulfill Anka’s mission––to provide dignity of work, transfer of skills and cultural integration through the creation of traditional crafts.
Deeply affected by the refugee crisis he saw while working in Turkey, Josh identified ways for US businesses to lend their expertise to help address this humanitarian dilemma.
Josh is especially grateful of all those who work to support refugee issues. He would also like to thank The University of Notre Dame's Fellow Irish Social Hub and the incredibly supportive ND family!
Thank you for visiting our Kickstarter!
Risks and challenges
Our co-founder is Turkish-American and has been training women to weave rugs for 35+ years. We have excellent relations with the management of the refugee camps, and have been working there for 5 years. We currently have over 500 existing rugs that are awaiting a new home.
The risk and challenge we may have is keeping up with demand. We're hopeful to take on this challenge as we will then be able to sustainably empower so many more refugees. We feel confident we will be able to follow through, and will keep you updated along the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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