In the northern Iraqi city of Halabja a unique new weekly market showcases handmade goods produced by the province’s women. It’s doing so well, it may become a permanent fixture.
In the northern Iraqi city of Halabja, women’s work has taken on a different dimension recently. Every Wednesday the city holds a special “women’s market” where local females can sell goods and foods they have produced themselves.
The market takes place between 10 in the morning and four in the afternoon in a central city park. The first one took place on March 8 and proved so popular that it has become a weekly event, says Sundus Hassan, who heads the special committee that was created to administer the market sellers.
Around 20 women currently sell their wares at the weekly market and Hassan says many more have applied to join. “We will support any woman from in Halabja who has a skill and who wants to participate,” Hassan outlines the necessary criteria.
On sale are things like hand knitted items cosmetics, herbs, bread and a special Kurdish dish made of dough, onions and spices.
The women have also been known to produce new things out of recycled waste.
“In this way, we are protecting the environment,” Hassan explains. “More importantly, recycled goods are becoming a source of income for the women.”
“The effort made by these women is so wonderful,” says Hawraman Mohammed, one of the customers browsing in the market on the day NIQASH visited. “It is unique and it makes me happy.”
Mohammed says he just came to take a look and to drink some tea but that he would return next week and make some purchases.