Volume 15, No. 1
Winter 2012
Iraqi Refugees Craft New Careers
Faten's colorful beaded jewelry exhibit attracts a buyer at one of the many indoor craft shows held throughout the year in Syria. (Photo credit: Nabeel Jazrawi/GOPA)
Faten, 48, will tell you that she misses her life in Iraq but the growing violence that surrounded the home she shared with husband, Khalid, and their three sons made her desperate to find a safer place for her children. The family fled to Syria with little money, a few possessions, and no job prospects, but still relieved to be away from fighting and bloodshed.

Like many Iraqi refugees fleeing to Syria, Faten and her family had to rely on humanitarian assistance with no source of income to rise above certain poverty. With your support and funding from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM), IOCC is helping Iraqi refugees and disadvantaged Syrians develop untapped artistic talent into a money-making craft.

Through a special artisan training program implemented in cooperation with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA), Iraqi refugees hone their creative skills in producing bead, metal, and stone jewelry, as well as glass etching. After graduation, the artisans display their handcrafted work at several expositions and fairs throughout the year. The craft fairs generate income and renewed hope for the refugee artisans while providing the buyers with high quality, fashionable products.

The beauty of beadwork had always fascinated Faten, and the opportunity to put her passion to work now means the ability to earn income in Syria or wherever she and her family ultimately settle. "My mind and hands are active again, I am creating jewelry that people can enjoy and that makes me happy and thankful."

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In This Issue

Opening Doors to Education for Children of Famine

From The Executive Director

Medical Shipment Strengthens Zimbabwe's Ailing Families

New Stoves Bring Winter Relief to Serbia Quake Survivors

Iraqi Refugees Craft New Careers

Making the Gospel Alive

Seeking Volunteers for 2012 Orthodox Action Teams

20th Anniversary Celebration Gala

Parish Reps Make A Difference!

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