An Opportunity in Workclothes

Smyrna Women's Empowerment Centre, Turkey


A crisis is always an opportunity. Last month, an issue that arose among the women was a great teachable moment for us. As we were solving problems, we saw that our relationships have gotten stronger.


Olive distributes wool to the women in the neighbourhood. She ensures that the knitting is done with excellence and without errors. Olive is a divorced young woman with two children. Because of her hopelessness, she did not like going out too much.  


The knitting project changed that. Olive is slowly coming out of the depression she has been struggling with for a long time. She now says that she had a hope that she hasn’t had in years.


Sarah is approximately 55 years old and has two adult children. Nobody asked her opinion before. Nobody let her talk about what she wants or needs until now. Whenever she thought about expressing her ideas, she would shut up. That’s why she is so hesitant to talk when we ask anything. She is a shy, introverted person. Knitting these stockings made a lovely impact on her life. Now she feels useful. She loves knitting and earning her own money. It is the first time in her life she has made an income.


Since Olive wants everyone to benefit equally from the project, she gives equal amounts of yarn to each woman. But Sarah knits very fast and she wanted more wool. Olive declined her request and told Sarah to wait for the others. This upset Sarah, so she decided to leave the project. Olive called her many times, but Sarah only communicated with me. She did not answer calls from Olive.


Olive, Sarah, and I sat together and discussed the problem. Sarah did not want to talk at first. As an elder, she was to be respected, yet Sarah was so nervous. Thankfully, it was a peaceful conversation and learning opportunity.


At the end of our conversation, they both decided to trust each other and support each other more. Our project is bearing fruit in relationships. All our projects are developing and so are our relationships!


Thank you! 


Basak Celik