Refugee women in Turkey learn about value of renewable energy

There are many refugees now living in Turkey. It is encouraging to read that an NGO is help many refugee women to understand the benefits of renewable energy and even turn those efforts into money making initiatives. Banu Şen explains in an article in the Hurriyet Daily News.

Refugee women receive courses on renewable energy 

Refugee women, who fled their countries to take shelter in Turkey, are given courses on renewable energy in a village established by the İmece Initiative Foundation, an NGO in the Çeşme district of the western province of İzmir.

During the courses, they will learn how to install and operate solar power systems. At the end of the program, they will have acquired enough knowledge to set up their own power systems when they return back to their countries.

The women, who take part in the courses, will also be able to export products that run on solar power. They will either market those products on the internet or in shops they will open in the future.

The instructors in the village received training in India for six months under a joint program with Barefoot College. The volunteer instructors will pass on the knowledge they acquired in India to the refugee women.

The İmece Initiative, an NGO working mostly with Syrian refugees, started to establish the İmece village one and a half years ago. Volunteers from foreign countries also joined and supported the project.

The initiative first leased a land plot in Çeşme and built facilities for the common use of refugees through collective work (the Turkish word “imece” refers to collective work). The habitants of the village engaged in organic farming and breeding. A playground was also set up for the children of the trainee refugee women.

At the initial stage of the project, the refugee women learned how to make soaps and candles. As they moved further, women are now set to produce solar energy-powered products.

“If they decide to run their own collective business or launch their own workshops, we will pay for the rent of those shops for six months,” said Ali Güray Yalvaçlı from the İmece Initiative

“Our primary purpose is to help those women engage in the production process. In each group, four women come and stay here with their children for a week. They receive training to produce goods easily at their home to make money,” said Yalvaçlı.

“They attend computer, jewelry design, basic math, the Latin alphabet and Turkish workshops here,” he said.

“We will also teach those women how to sell their products on the internet,” Yalvaçlı said.

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