Amid this pandemic, when we are fighting our own battle against an invisible enemy, it is easy to forget that countries are still engulfed in war, that people are being rendered refugees almost daily as a consequence and are struggling just to survive. This is a reality that Dana, the founder of Tight Knit Syria, can not afford to forget.
Today, in our third edition of Good People Doing Good Things, we speak with Dana and learn more about the incredible work she is doing through her non-profit.
MEET DANA KANDALAFT, FOUNDER OF TIGHT KNIT SYRIA
Tight Knit Syria began in 2013 after Dana Kandalaft visited a camp for internally displaced persons in Northern Syria. She had done so because she wanted to understand the Syrian humanitarian crisis firsthand and meet the people impacted. That day, an unexpected frenzy was sparked among a group of girls when one girl in particular named Sebra pointed out Dana’s rainbow-colored knitted purse and yelled, “Souf! Souf!” (meaning yarn). Since Dana was unfamiliar with this Arabic word, Sebra brought Dana to her tent and showed her a purple knitted dress with a crocheted flower. She had made the dress using donated yarn with the help of her mother and grandmother. This was when Dana had a lightbulb moment, realizing she could collect donated yarn from home in Canada and try to sell the women’s products in her community. She wrote up a plan for Tight Knit Syria that very night.
"Our mission is to help restore livelihoods for women in refugee camps by leveraging their existing skill sets in knitting and embroidery and connecting their beautiful handmade accessories to the world."
Dana explains that Tight Knit Syria is all about leveraging the unique superpowers we all have. "For our artisans in Lebanon and Northern Syria, a lot of them inherited advanced skill sets in knitting and embroidering from their mothers and grandmothers."
Tight Knit Syria’s superpower is to break down economic barriers to women in refugee camps by collaborating closely with our artisans to introduce their handmade accessories to consumers and business partners around the world.
RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Unfortunately, because of COVID-19 and restrictions against gathering in large numbers, Tight Knit Syria had to put a temporary stop on their work. To help these artisans meet their needs, Dana has launched a fundraiser to distribute USD 200 to 10 refugee families to help off-set their expenses in these difficult times.
Dana explains why she started this fundraiser and why it's essential to give at this time,
( because )"unlike Canada and many other countries in the world, refugees in Lebanon are not receiving any government or humanitarian support amidst COVID-19. The women are located in a densely populated refugee camp in Beirut and are now isolating themselves in their tiny apartments. Without their regular income from TKS work, it’s nearly impossible to cover the high costs of rent, food, electricity, phone connection, medication, and other daily necessities."
And this is one of the reasons why we adore Dana at Daria Day. Her passion to uplift the lives of these artisans, her compassion for them shines through in her work.
WHAT WE ARE LOVING CURRENTLY AT TIGHT KNIGHT SYRIA
The embroidered bookmarks make reading books that much more fun. The best part is that proceeds from the sale of these bookmarks go towards the artisan computer literacy and education program.
These cozy handknitted scarves are a must-have for our cold Canadian winters. They are available in a multitude of colors and make a great gift too (hint hint)!
A TREAT FOR YOU 💖
Discover these and other beautiful embroidered delights at Tight Knit Syria (click here). Use the code DariaDay20 to get 20% off your purchase. Thank you, Dana, for this generous gift to our readers!
This blog is part of a series at Daria Day featuring stories of people doing amazing things to make the world a little better. If you know someone we could feature, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for more good people doing good things.