Drop Earrings Not Bombs
Since the beginning of the Syrian Crisis, Turkey has accepted around three million Syrian refugees, more than any other country has. Germany, second to Turkey in this respect, has accepted just over 1.8 million, and is seen as one of the most generous European countries for its acceptance of refugees.
Small Projects Istanbul
‘Small Projects Istanbul’ (SPI) is an NGO based in Istanbul, run entirely by volunteers and donations.
It aims to provide financial aid and support for refugees in Turkey, and most notably those from Syria. The integration process into Turkish life is not easy for refugees, especially when it comes to work, education, and the all important language barrier; therefore, SPI use various programmes to help make the integration process easier, by offering supplementary education schemes, language classes and other creative activities.
Drop Earrings Not Bombs
Image of Syrian women producing the drop earrings (source: Drop Earrings Not Bombs)
‘Drop Earrings Not Bombs’ is one of the many programmes run by SPI. The craft collective, made up entirely of Syrian women, produce handmade, unique earrings from thread and metal frames, which are cheap and easily sourced. Mahmoud Tabsho, a Syrian refugee himself, designed the earrings and also teaches the women to make them from scratch. A jeweller in his former home, Aleppo, he fled to Istanbul in search of a job and security for his family. The earrings initiative has provided Mahmoud, along with many other Syrian refugees with an income, which is essential to help them create a new life in Istanbul.
Each pair of earrings is unique, and individually produced. The orders for these earrings come on a donation basis, meaning that you receive a pair of earrings for every donation that is given. When you place your order, you can request for specific colours and designs, but the women then take it from there and make it their own. The earrings you receive are a combination of both your preferences and the creative choices of the maker, and in purchasing them you become part of a movement.
Image of drop earrings (source: Drop Earrings Not Bombs)
This initiative has created more opportunities for both the women involved and their families. All the proceeds from this collective are fed back to SPI who help to make the integration into Turkish life easier for refugees.
Although this programme may be small, it is just one part of the bigger movement that SPI is trying to orchestrate. It is important not to focus solely on the tragedy that is the Syria crisis, but to look also on the positive actions that individuals are taking to try and aid those who need it.
India is half South-African and half English, and currently lives in Istanbul. She has previously lived in London, Houston, Pretoria and Singapore. She is passionate about global issues, and is also very interested in domestic and foreign Turkish affairs. She aims to show people what life is really like in Turkey and to highlight the positive aspects of Turkey that the mainstream media do not tend to focus on.