The aid organization Avicenna Kultur- und Hilfswerk e.V. supports TIAFI in most areas, be it with money for the kitchen, money for the care packages, money for childcare or money for physiotherapy. Two years ago we started a project together with the W.P. Schmitz Foundations that single mothers in particular should benefit from fleeing. To help these women become independent from a man or an institution, we set up classrooms in the building and find teachers. The women should be given the opportunity to register for various courses and learn skills with which they can earn money.
This includes a Turkish language course, a sewing course, an IT course, a mobile phone repair course and courses in art and business. We expanded the childcare facility. This school has been running very successfully for two years now and is becoming more and more popular and can show successful stories of women who are now financially on their own two feet.
The cell phone repair course is of great value to the participants. The third course is already taking place, each course lasts six months. There is a lot of traffic, there are 11 participants in this course, but the space is limited by the room and the teacher can only train a small group. Unfortunately, not many women dare to repair it, so men with disabilities are also granted access.
With the skills learned from the course, the participants have good opportunities to earn money from home.
Nowadays everyone owns a smartphone which is expensive and also costly to repair. Technology is needed here too. In order for a graduate to work from home, a machine is needed to seal the phone. Purchasing a machine for one person costs €350. For a woman with children or a man in a wheelchair, this is an investment for the future.
Unfortunately, the IT course has not yet started. No candidate for the apprenticeship had sufficient command of PCs and EDP to train a class.
Although a university in the city made computers and peripheral hardware available to us, there is no qualified person who can and wants to impart their knowledge.
Two artists from Syria came to TIAFI while fleeing. Anne has been able to find donations of canvases and paints that will allow the two men to find help in art for their trauma and perhaps give courses to others in the future.
The sewing course is still going very well. Many women can already earn their own income. The current course (as of Feb. 2023) is, as always, full with 20 participants. The previous course ended in January with 15 participants. The acceptance of the course is very high among women. In Syria there are still many families in which a woman is not supposed to work at all.
In other families, the woman is at least allowed to carry out “female” jobs, such as sewing. Here, too, buying a sewing machine helps so that the women can also work at home. Otherwise they have to wait for the time slots between courses at TIAFI when they can use the devices.
A semi-commercial sewing machine for one person costs 400€ and allows a woman to earn her own money for her and her children!
It is very difficult to take photos of the participating women or refugees in general at TIAFI. In addition to the fact that people do not want to be photographed in their neediness, a cultural problem also plays a role for the women. The women from Syria and Iraq are partially fully veiled. Nobody is allowed to see her face and certainly not to be photographed. If I can take a picture at all, the women turn away or leave the room. Recently there has even been a hairdressing course at TIAFI with 24 participants. However, as soon as I enter the room I only see a few shadows disappearing behind a curtain.
The Turkish courses are also well attended. In February the course has 51 participants and a long waiting list. I am very happy to see these courses in reality now.
We worked together on the concepts and the implementation for so long and the opening of the school has been pushed back again and again because of Corona.