Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Your pledge for one museum-quality rug will empower and employ one refugee for up to one year. Introducing: The Anka Cooperative.
Your pledge for one museum-quality rug will empower and employ one refugee for up to one year. Introducing: The Anka Cooperative.
671 backers pledged $100,408 to help bring this project to life.

About

Empowering Syrian Refugees With Handcrafted Heirloom Rugs project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$100,408

671

The Anka Cooperative helps Syrian refugee women reach for more.
The Anka Cooperative helps Syrian refugee women reach for more.

The purchase of ONE RUG 

Will empower and employ ONE REFUGEE 

For up to ONE YEAR.

Background 

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.

Ms. Hind weaves a Shirvan carpet Sanliurfa refugee camp
Ms. Hind weaves a Shirvan carpet Sanliurfa refugee camp

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.

Join us! 

One weaver can knot about 10 sq ft per month; this rug will employ these women for nearly a year
One weaver can knot about 10 sq ft per month; this rug will employ these women for nearly a year
 

Our Rugs

We have partnered with Woven Legends, an industry leader for decades, to make the highest quality rugs in the world.

Hertz 8x10––Woven in Adiyaman Camp, this rug employed one refugee for over 8 months and contains nearly 650,000 knots
Hertz 8x10––Woven in Adiyaman Camp, this rug employed one refugee for over 8 months and contains nearly 650,000 knots

 

This peaceful Ushak is both calming and inspiring
This peaceful Ushak is both calming and inspiring

 

All our rugs are painstakingly designed and inspired by carpets made in the 14th to 18th centuries
All our rugs are painstakingly designed and inspired by carpets made in the 14th to 18th centuries

 

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.

Naturally Dyed Handspun Wool
Naturally Dyed Handspun Wool

Weavingwe 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.

Over one million knots in this rug have been individually inspected for quality prior to final shipment
Over one million knots in this rug have been individually inspected for quality prior to final shipment

Our Story

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

Our workshop in Sanliurfa empowers 25 women in a safe, clean environment
Our workshop in Sanliurfa empowers 25 women in a safe, clean environment

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.

Neriman weaves with her daughter after school in one of our six workshop tents in Adiyaman refugee camp
Neriman weaves with her daughter after school in one of our six workshop tents in Adiyaman refugee camp

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.

Our future site in the Gaziantep Refugee camp in S/E Turkey
Our future site in the Gaziantep Refugee camp in S/E Turkey

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.

These women proudly display this rug they crafted for an Embassy in Turkey
These women proudly display this rug they crafted for an Embassy in Turkey

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.

Many of our rugs will delight children of all ages
Many of our rugs will delight children of all ages

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.

Teaching Her How to Fish
Teaching Her How to Fish

 

Rewards  

$25: Rug Coasters

Reflect on your impact with every sip when you back us at this level
Reflect on your impact with every sip when you back us at this level
 

$50: Framed Rug Fragment

Show your support for Anka by hanging this handmade carpet fragment in your home or office
Show your support for Anka by hanging this handmade carpet fragment in your home or office
 

$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. 

This Flower of Life contains over 50,000 knots and employed one weaver for over two weeks
This Flower of Life contains over 50,000 knots and employed one weaver for over two weeks

–––

$1,000: Small “Teach her How to Fish”, Ushak  or other Rug (up to 3x5 feet). Click HERE to see all available options. 

Teach a Woman to Fish and Feed Her for a Lifetime
Teach a Woman to Fish and Feed Her for a Lifetime

 

This 3'X5' Ushak rug has over 80,000 knots and was handcrafted in Adiyaman refugee camp
This 3'X5' Ushak rug has over 80,000 knots and was handcrafted in Adiyaman refugee camp

–––

$2,500: Medium Firework, Runner or other rug (up to 3x12 feet)Click HERE to see all available options.

This stunning Runner was crafted in Adiyaman refugee camp and could be yours when you show your support
This stunning Runner was crafted in Adiyaman refugee camp and could be yours when you show your support

 

Let your colors burst by selecting this joyful, modernist, Stream of Consciousness, creative outlet. This is one of the first rugs that our refugee weavers will learn
Let your colors burst by selecting this joyful, modernist, Stream of Consciousness, creative outlet. This is one of the first rugs that our refugee weavers will learn

–––

$5,000: Large Folklife, Tribal, or other rug (up to 7x9 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.

 
Functional, Flavforful and Fun - these Folklife rugs are designed by the weavers who draw upon inspiration in their surroundings from before the war
Functional, Flavforful and Fun - these Folklife rugs are designed by the weavers who draw upon inspiration in their surroundings from before the war

 

Geometric and lively, these colorful Tribal rugs contain traditional designs that continue to inspire
Geometric and lively, these colorful Tribal rugs contain traditional designs that continue to inspire

 –––

$7500: Grand Ushak, Heriz, or other rug (up to 8x10 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.

 
The twin of this rug is on permanent display in a famous NYC Museum
The twin of this rug is on permanent display in a famous NYC Museum

 

...And here are the women who made it
...And here are the women who made it

–––

$9,850: Extra grand Heriz, Khotan or other rug (up to 10x14 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.

Display this stunning Heriz in your home or office
Display this stunning Heriz in your home or office

–––

$15,000: Fouier Carpet (up to 11x15 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.

This inspiring Heriz is handcrafted of nearly 1,500,000 individual knots. Selecting this rug will employ and employ one refugee for over 18 months
This inspiring Heriz is handcrafted of nearly 1,500,000 individual knots. Selecting this rug will employ and employ one refugee for over 18 months

–––

$25,000: Museum Carpet (up to 12x18 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.

Selecting rugs at this level will employ and empower one Syrian refugee for over two years. These rugs are handcrafted from over 2,000,000 knots
Selecting rugs at this level will employ and empower one Syrian refugee for over two years. These rugs are handcrafted from over 2,000,000 knots

–––

$35,000: Palace Carpet (up to 15x20 feet). Click HERE to see all available options.

Worthy of a palace, these rugs are made of nearly 4,000,000 knots. Your selection of rugs at this reward level will employ and empower one refugee weaver for over three years
Worthy of a palace, these rugs are made of nearly 4,000,000 knots. Your selection of rugs at this reward level will employ and empower one refugee weaver for over three years

Why Kickstarter? 

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.


Our Team 

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 

Josh and friends in Sanliurfa camp - Oct, 2016
Josh and friends in Sanliurfa camp - Oct, 2016

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!  

Actual sketch by Syrian Refugee and the inspiration for our name: "Anka" - a mythical bird that which obtains new life by arising from its ashes.
Actual sketch by Syrian Refugee and the inspiration for our name: "Anka" - a mythical bird that which obtains new life by arising from its ashes.

 

 

 

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

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Limited Edition Professional Photograph

    Backers at this level will receive a high resolution, digital, professional photograph of your choice. Our award winning photographer captured these inspiring images in October 2016. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 95 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Carpet Coasters

    Two unique drink coasters made from Anka carpet fragments. High quality, hand woven fragments are hand sewn and transformed into stunning statement coasters. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 200 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Framed Fragment

    Handwoven rug fragment framed in natural wood for display to show your support for this worthy cause. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 124 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Carpet Coasters & Photobook

    Four unique drink coasters made from Anka carpet fragments. High quality, hand woven fragments are hand sewn and transformed into stunning statement coasters. Also included is one statement photobook for your coffee table. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 60 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    2 Stockings & Photobook

    Two handwoven Christmas Stockings made of stunning rug fragments plus one statement photobook for your coffee table. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 15 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Petite Instock Rug

    Any petite (upto 2x3'), instock 'Teach her How to Fish' or 'Flower of Life' Rug of your choice. Every rug is unique, and the first backers will be the first to choose their statement pieces. At the conclusion of the campaign, backers can select from rugs of various colors and designs at this reward level. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 20 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Teach her How to Fish or Ushak Rug

    Any small (upto 3x5'), instock 'Teach her How to Fish', Folklife, or Ushak Rug of your choice. Every rug is unique, and the first backers will be the first to choose their statement pieces. At the conclusion of the campaign, backers can select from rugs of various colors and designs at this reward level. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 12 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    EARLYBIRD SPECIAL

    Very limited number of larger than expected rugs available only for the first 72 hours of our campaign. See the images below for a link to all options. Every rug is unique, and the first backers will be the first to choose their statement pieces. At the conclusion of the campaign, backers can select from rugs of various colors and designs at this reward level. Regular retail price will be over $1600.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Medium Heriz, Firework or Runner

    Any medium (upto 3'x12'), instock Rug of your choice plus one statement photobook for your coffee table. Every rug is unique, and the first backers will be the first to choose their statement pieces. At the conclusion of the campaign, backer can select from rugs of various colors and designs at this reward level. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 6 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    EARLYBIRD SPECIAL

    Very limited number of larger than expected rugs available only for the first 72 hours of our campaign. Every rug is unique, and the first backers will be the first to choose their statement pieces. At the conclusion of the campaign, backer can select from rugs of various colors and designs at this reward level. See the images below for a link to all options. Regular retail price will be over $4000.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Large Folklife, Heriz, or Khotan

    Any Large (upto 7'x9') instock Firework, Folklife, Heriz or Khotan Rug of your choice plus one statement photobook for your coffee table. Every rug is unique, and the first backers will be the first to choose their statement pieces. At the conclusion of the campaign, backer can select from rugs of various colors and designs at this reward level. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    EARLYBIRD SPECIAL

    Very limited number of larger than expected rugs available only for the first 72 hours of our campaign. See the images below for a link to all options. Every rug is unique, and the first backers will be the first to choose their statement pieces. At the conclusion of the campaign, backer can select from rugs of various colors and designs at this reward level. Regular retail price will be nearly $10,000.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    Grand Ushak, Heriz or Khotan

    Any Grand (upto 8'x12') instock Ushak, Firework, Heriz or Khotan Rug of your choice plus one statement photobook for your coffee table. Every rug is unique, and the first backers will be the first to choose their statement pieces. At the conclusion of the campaign, backer can select from rugs of various colors and designs at this reward level. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $9,850 or more About $9,850

    Extragrand Ushak, Heriz or Khotan

    Any extragrand (upto 10'x14') instock Rug of your choice plus one statement photobook for your coffee table. Every rug is unique, and the first backers will be the first to choose their statement pieces. At the conclusion of the campaign, backer can select from rugs of various colors and designs at this reward level. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $15,000 or more About $15,000

    Empowering Fourier Carpet

    For an entrance as empowering as it is grand, these Fourier Carpets (upto 11'x15') employ one refugee for over 15 months, and are crafted from nearly 1,500,000 knots. Every rug is unique, and the first backers will be the first to choose their statement pieces. At the conclusion of the campaign, backer can select from rugs of various colors and designs at this reward level. One statement photobook for your coffee table will also be included. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $25,000 or more About $25,000

    Inspiring Museum Carpet

    For those who only accept exceptional products crafted from the highest ethical standards, our Museum Carpets (upto 12'x18') employ one refugee for over two years, and are crafted from nearly 2,000,000 knots. Every rug is unique, and the first backers will be the first to choose their statement pieces. At the conclusion of the campaign, backer can select from rugs of various colors and designs at this reward level. One statement photobook for your coffee table will also be included. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  17. Select this reward

    Pledge $35,000 About $35,000

    Legacy Leaving Palace Carpet

    You can tell your grandchildren that you employed and empowered one refugee for over three years when you pledge your support for our Palace Carpets (upto 15'x21'). These heirloom pieces are crafted from nearly 4,000,000 knots. Every rug is unique, and the first backers will be the first to choose their statement pieces. At the conclusion of the campaign, backer can select from rugs of various colors and designs at this reward level. One statement photobook for your coffee table will also be included. For supporting this cause, we will also add you to our mailing list where you will receive monthly updates and personal stories from the refugees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)