Project Shatila & Tight-Knit-Syria
I started Tight-Knit Syria in 2013 after getting the chance to visit an IDP in Northern Syria. A little girl named Sebra started a frenzy when she noticed the knitted bag I was wearing. This inspired Sebra and all her friends to share with me the knitted creations they were making with yarn that was donated to them. Sebra’s purple dress, knitted with the help of her mother, was especially striking.
Before TKS, I was having trouble coming to terms with my identity as a Syrian-Canadian. I was born and raised in the shelter of the Canada while 24 hours a day, people are suffering in my parent’s homeland due to the on-going crisis.
That trip in 2013, helped dissolve the barrier between us as Syrians. Sebra and her friends revealed a lust for life through their love of knitting, despite their horrible circumstances. This inevitably inspired me to share my experience with friends and family back home in Toronto. I started Tight-Knit Syria and yarn quickly became a tangible link between people living in North America and the women fighting for a dignified life in the Middle East. It also became a powerful tool to empower refugee women economically, while giving North-Americans access to the beautiful, quality pieces handmade with Arabic taught flare! We source our pieces from collectives of women living in Northern Syria, Jordan and recently, Lebanon.
About Project Shatila
While abroad in Lebanon (originally to focus on studying Arabic), I had the opportunity to visit Shatila Camp where I met a Syrian woman named Malak who came to Shatila two years ago with her husband and 6 children.
For refugees in Shatila Camp, starting a new life is often reduced to survival. For Syrian refugee women, employment remains scarce. Unable to contribute to the family income, the responsibility often falls onto children, pushing them to work long hours in the streets. Malak shared me with stories of hardships, but she also shared with me stories of resilience. She spoke and spoke about the talents and charisma of the women in Shatila Camp and their determination to rebuild the lives of their families. Because of community support, we we’re able to raise funds through our Indiegogo campaign and begin work with 25 women.
Check out their latest lookbook