We are the girls of Bostaniçi - in Van Province – the Kurdish part of Turkey. (North of Iraq and just West of Iran…look for the big lake!)
We want to share these things with you, and through our handicrafts to make a connection with women around the world.
We made everything here by hand– based on traditional Kurdish designs.
About our neighborhood: Bostaniçi has grown from 1,900 to 25,000 people in 10 years .
We are officially called IDP’s, “Internally Displaced People.”
Our families moved here because of fighting in our country, what they call, “The Kurdish Problem.”
Many things have held us back – politics, culture and circumstances.
But we aren’t blaming anyone – our whole community, mothers, fathers, girls and boys – we are all challenged by the circumstances that brought us here.
We were not free to go to school. We wished that we could go to school. We were not free to travel. We would love to travel. We would like to have a career! But that will not be possible for most of us. Most of us have never left our neighborhood.
But we are curious! And we've learned a lot!
We’ve used what freedom we have and we are starting to change things for the better. Not just for us, but for our parents and families too.
We’ve had the chance to learn to read and write. We’ve had help from women educators, artists, lawyers, and doctors who taught us that we could make choices; that we can make something of ourselves.
So we believe in ourselves!
We’ve started this business to make a good example for younger girls and for our families. We are making a better future for our community.
Bostaniçi Background and Facts
Population 25,000 - 90% are IDP’s “Internally Displaced Persons”* Population in 2000 was 1,900.
*Internally Displaced Persons are people or groups who by necessity or through force, had to leave their homes or villages and escape to a new place without crossing internationally accepted national borders. By definition IDP’s escaped to protect themselves from natural disasters or human rights abuses, violence, or economic problems, especially those caused by armed conflicts.
The residents of Bostanici arrived without preparation for city life. Apart from the grinding poverty and lack of jobs in the general population, women and girls face difficulties of their own:
Women especially have a difficult life here. Most children do not speak the language of education, Turkish, until they begin primary school. Many girls do not progress beyond primary school.
The community is isolated, meaning that most women are effectively cut off from the world.
There is a generally a weak role for women and children in the family, which makes them disenfranchised from the community.
The women are essentially unrecognized and voiceless .
In a Van Women’s Association study, 82% of women in Van indicated that they were “often” or “very often” victims of domestic violence.