SADA Women Development and Solidarity Centre Completes the Fifth Round of Seminars

The seminars on rights at work and fundamental rights in Turkey were held on 22 April – 3 May 2019 in the GESOB Events Hall with the participation of beneficiaries who completed the basic life skills and occupational training courses in the SADA Women Development and Solidarity Centre under the Project “Strengthening the Resilience of Syrian Women and Girls” being implemented in Gaziantep by the ILO Office for Turkey in cooperation with UN Women and ASAM.

News | 09 May 2019
Aiming to increase the knowledge of women beneficiaries on such core matters of working life as the working life, labour laws, and rights of working women, gender equality at work, and occupational safety and health in Turkey, the seminars were attended by a total 161 women beneficiaries of 116 Syrian, 11 Afghan, 1 Iranian and 32 Turkish nationality from Turkish A1, Hair-dressing, Packaging courses and the Shoe-upping workshop. Aiming to facilitate and promote the entry of women beneficiaries of the Project into labour markets, the seminars are organised on seven topics every two months.

Work Permits

At the seminar on 22 April 2019 with the participation of Mr. Fatih Volkan Yamaner, an expert from the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services, the participants were informed on the legal procedures for the access to labour markets by foreigners granted Temporary Protection and International Protection; and then, answers were given to the questions from the women beneficiaries relating to the problems in entering the world of work. Information was provided to the participants on the current work of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services, and questions were answered on work permits.

Social Security Rights

At the seminar on 24 April with the participation of Mr. Mehmet Aliko, a Social Security Inspector from Gaziantep Provincial Directorate of Social Security, information was provided on the status of insuredness of foreigners achieved upon obtaining the work permit. Further information was provided on the rights of insuredness including particularly women’s rights in the social security system in terms of pregnancy, birth-maternity, and marriage. The participant women told about the problems encountered by their spouses in the world of work and experience of working uninsured; and emphasis was made on the importance of insured work.

ISKUR Active Labour Market Programmes

At the seminar on 25 April 2019 with the participation of Mr. Engin Güngördü, a job and vocational counsellor from Gaziantep ISKUR, information was provided to women beneficiaries of the Project on ISKUR’s mandate and activities, courses and events offered, ISKUR’s current projects, eligibility for benefiting from such projects, as well as how they could access Gaziantep ISKUR over the map. Detailed information was provided on job-seeking processes under ISKUR activities. Participants were also shown, using real participant information, how to register at ISKUR online system; then 105 women beneficiaries of 13 Turkish, 1 Afghan and 91 Syrian nationality were registered at ISKUR who wanted to participate in the world of work; thus, their job-seeking process was officially commenced.

Gender Equality at Work

At the seminar on 26 April 2019 with the participation of psychologist Ms. Zehra Tosun, participants were first asked what aspects of themselves they liked most, areas of interest, strengths, and whether they wished to participate in working life. To the question whether they wished to work for pay, almost all responded affirmatively. They were also asked how their lives changed upon starting to visit SADA. The participants expressed that upon participating in the activities of SADA Women Centre, they started to have higher self-confidence, had opportunities to know Gaziantep better, had more communication with the local people, engaged in more activities other than household chores and sleep, and were able to act more independently at such institutions as hospital etc.

Another focus was on the issues where women were discriminated in exercising their fundamental rights, particularly right to work and barriers to women’s work. Participants told about negative social perceptions about women’s work, family pressure, household chores, inadequacy of childcare services, inability to have education/training, lack of vocational skills, poor working conditions, harassment at work etc. As such experience was shared at the seminar, the relation was highlighted between gender and factors adversely affecting women at work, discussing the discrimination experienced by women starting from the time in mother’s womb. The concept of gender, evolution of gender roles, gender-based division of work, gender-based discrimination, gender equality at work, violence against women, economic violence against women, education for girls, child marriages, their interrelation with the world of work were discussed, and the importance of solidarity among women was highlighted, then the seminar concluded.

Cooperativism in Turkey

As the founding work for SADA Women’s Cooperative was completed, Ms. Melike Davaslı Okçu, an expert from the Ministry of Trade, provided information on cooperativism to the project participants at the seminar. At the seminar held on 29 April, information was provided to the participants on cooperatives’ areas of activities, establishment procedures, working principles as well as about some of the leading women’s cooperatives. Short videos were watched on the work of women’s cooperatives in Turkey, then the seminar concluded with a question & answer session.

Occupational Safety and Health

At the seminar on 30 April 2019 with the participation of Ms. Burcu Ünal, an expert of occupational safety and health, the content was selected from the topics of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) training as organised earlier by ILO to match with the courses and occupations of participants. In this context information was provided to women beneficiaries on the obligations and rights of workers and employers under the laws including particularly in the legislation on OSH and Labour Law, Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155), culture of safety, risk assessment, work accidents and occupational diseases, signs of safety and health and ergonomics. Interactive training methods were used in the seminar, and the video “NAPO in Best Signs Story” covering the safety and health signs of NAPO was presented to further reinforce the learning at the seminar. Participants’ questions on the problems of OSH experienced by themselves and families were answered where most of the questions related to whether they could enjoy OSH-related legal rights when they worked informally, whether they could file a lawsuit and get compensation, and how the occupational diseases could be identified.

Role Models

The role models seminar, aiming to bring together successful business women with the Project’s beneficiaries, was held on 3 May 2019 hosting Ms. Lubna Hilli of Syria who opened a chocolate shop called Lozard in Gaziantep. Ms. Hilli shared her personal story with the participants that she used to live in Idlib, Syria, graduated from the Law School of Aleppo University and worked professionally for years as a hospital manager, but had to move to Turkey upon the outbreak of the war. She had to care for her children alone in Gaziantep for 2 years because her husband was imprisoned in Syria; and she started selling home-made dishes. Having participated in various projects and courses in Gaziantep to develop herself, Ms. Hilli opened the chocolate shop Lozard. Making chocolate pastries on the figures of such products as gyro, sushi, pizza and hamburger, Ms. Hilli works at her shop with her husband, and her sister who is a beneficiary at the packaging section at SADA Women Centre. She said: “A trainee in the centre is working with me and making various gift chocolates, which have captured my attention. I have never taken entrepreneurial training, but participated in a training session on successful leaders at Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce. There I learned important things about copyrights, marketing, promotion etc.” Ms. Hilli added that the chocolate designs captured a lot of attention; despite the initial challenges, they were already doing well, received a business offer from Bursa where she intended to open a branch office of Lozard.