OPERATION DAGSVÆRK: Iraqi Youth Network Creates Income for Women in need

Another association amongst many created to provide income for women in need, such as widows, the unemployed and disabled. Behind the project is the Women’s Rights Association, created by women affiliated to the Iraqi Youth Network (IYN).
The project is funded by the Danish Operation Day’s Work, while CCPA has helped establishing the IYN. A group of widows from Baghdad, met with the vice-president of the IYN, Karim ‘Al-Iraqi’ to discuss how to realize an entrepreneurial activity designed specifically to their talents and in return bring them an income in a country without welfare.
The conclusion was to set-up a sewing shop in Hay Al-Jihad, where as the IYN with Danish funds provided sewing machines and rent for a shop where the women can work, all income will go directly to the widows and other expenses such as advertising, phone-line and etc.
The activities will be done under name of the Women’s Rights Association (WRA), established by the IYN to strengthen the voice of women. The leadership of the association WRA and the board of the IYN believed that true independence for women is through work, as income will break them free from any dependency to the opposite sex in society.
This is not the first time the WRA has set-up a shop for women in need, in the refugee camps of Baghdad and Sulaymaniyah, there has been set-up grocery stores run by widows and beauty saloons run by young women, providing them a break from their unfortunate circumstances and also giving them the independency, freedom and breathing space that comes with an income.
In Iraq there is more than 1 million widows after 4 consecutive wars since the arrival of Saddam Hussein in 1979, as the society has become more tribal, women are left out the job market, leaving behind widows without a working husband and no opportunity to work themselves. Leaving their male children with the sole responsibility of providing for the family, excluding them from education.
The IYN created WRA is one of the few, if not the only Women’s Rights Association in Iraq, that doesn’t belong to any political party and is led by women of different backgrounds; Sunni, Shiite, Christian, Arab, Kurdish, Turkmen and Assyrian.Created and organized to strengthen the voice of all women in society, no matter their background.
The next projects will be in cooperation with the Farmers Association where the WRA will join them in providing basic education, information on women’s rights in other countries and free workforce to the agricultural areas of Iraq, where women make up 70 % of the workforce.