Gaziantep women set precedent at Paris forum
Founded by Turkish, Syrian and Afghan women, SADA Women’s Cooperative has been selected as one of the most successful 10 projects out of 100 at the Paris Peace Forum that took place Nov. 11-13.
“Joining forces made us stronger and carried us to the Paris Peace Forum. I am emotionally overwhelmed and find it hard to explain. I explain to my kids: My world was as small as a raisin, and suddenly, it’s grown into a watermelon,” said Zübeyde Bulut, one of the women who represented the cooperative at the forum.
Set up by 50 Turkish, Syrian and Afghan women who joined forces, SADA Women’s Cooperative was founded in Gaziantep in March 2019. The cooperative secured its place at the Paris Peace Forum after it was selected among the first 100 projects out of 1,600 applications and crowned its success by ranking among the top 10 successful scale-up projects at the forum after a careful evaluation.
The cooperative has a diverse portfolio: producing handbags and shoes, providing catering services and manufacturing home textiles. With their motto, “stronger together,” the women introduced their democratic and inclusive business model at the Paris Peace Forum. SADA, which means “voice” in both Turkish and Arabic, makes women’s voices heard all over the world.
Originating at the SADA Women’s Empowerment and Solidarity Center, the cooperative brings migrant and Turkish women together. Funded by the European Union and the Japanese government, the project is implemented by the United Nations Women Turkey in partnership with Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, International Labour Organization and Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants.
“We used to stay at home and take care of our children. Then we started taking courses at the SADA Center. We then founded the cooperative, and it took us here to the forum,” said Nazire Öztürk, another woman who participated in the forum in Paris.
“We take great pride in our dreams coming true, while all of this was just a dream back at home. To be the voice of the women in Gaziantep and to represent our Syrian and Afghan friends here is remarkable,” she added.
The forum will provide business opportunities and support to the SADA Women’s Cooperative for a year, which was selected as a scale-up project at the Paris Peace Forum. The cooperative will join the forum in Paris again in 2020 as a best practice.