Empowering Refugees Through Knitting

A Faroese knitwear company created women empowering projects in Peru and Jordan. Their purpose is to provide a culturally non-intimidating and reasonable salary for women with scarce money making choices.

The company’s development work already took a step forward as they started employing female Syrian refugees in the outpost in Jordan and giving these refugees a chance to regain their freedom.

There are presently more than 600,000 Syrian refugees affected by the continuing conflict within and outside Syria and most of which are female-headed families. These women in particular already have issues with supporting themselves monetarily and are already presented with a lot of problems facing their families like food, shelter and medical care. These women are also especially prone to abuse and exploitation.

Gudrun & Gudrun’s project coordinator, Hind Hammouqah explains that Syrian women who got into Amman get in contact with her for an opportunity to work. Having experienced the limitations from Jordan’s traditional working hindrances, these women seek for chances on independence.

Once they are registered, the women knitters get their tuition and pick up materials at a warehouse. They follow the knitting patterns at their homes while completing their household responsibilities.

Knitting for the company is a chance for a new life for these women. Earning also brings a respected place for them in society. The company’s co-founder, Gudrun Rógvadóttir observed how the textiles these women produced project their life experiences. The sweater knitted says a lot about whether they had a relaxed day or a tense day. The end result of a product can be a testament of a knitter’s life and all the challenges that came with the product.

One knitter started working while being pregnant. Employment with the company allowed a means to cover her hospital bills and gave her a sense of stability. Healthcare costs at Amman are extremely expensive and high.

The United Nations recently announced that people dislocated by conflicts is at its record high at 65 million. With Gudrun & Gudrun’s success, the question whether other companies will follow suit is unclear.

The women on this company are an example of how a traditional leisure activity like knitting these Men’s or Women’s Sweaters can be socially empowering allowing refugees a chance at freedom and stability.

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