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Sisterhood + Tech Hub Partnership

Traditional & Digital Stepping Stones

For more than six years, the Preemptive Love community has supported Syrian makers who fled to Iraq because of war–women who use their hands and traditional skills to create beautiful items–who also happen to be refugees.

Some create to help support their families, and some as the sole breadwinner. Some are relatively new at their craft, and some have been perfecting their techniques for decades. Regardless of their skill level when they join our community, each one grows further in skills, confidence, and opportunity. 

For more than five years, the Preemptive Love community has supported young people to find jobs in the tech sector—men and women, impacted by war, using their minds and cutting edge skills to create beautiful items online. 

Some have learned from our tech hubs in northern Iraq or Mexico. Some have learned virtually, from southern Iraq and Lebanon. Regardless of their skill level when they join our community, each one grows further in skills, confidence, and opportunity.

In December of 2021, these worlds came together to create new opportunities. 

Dr. Sarah AK Ahmed welcomes entrepreneurs to a learning session in marketing, during a packed bazaar hosted in one of our tech hubs. Photos by David Gota.

Supporting local makers far beyond our own community

We hosted the first Sisterhood Annual Local Entrepreneurs Bazaar at one of our tech hubs in northern Iraq. More than 33 local small businesses and artists came to sell their products besides the beautiful products of our own Sisterhood makers.

Because of the savvy of our tech hub staff, who are experts in subjects like business IT, social media marketing, website design, online accounting, and consulting, we had the perfect opportunity to support local entrepreneurs by offering two intensive marketing sessions for bazaar participants. The sessions were well received and added to the buzz of the day. Not only did those who came to sell see their products earn income, but they also gained valuable skills that will maximize future sales.

Marwa in the maker space pottery studio creating fig earrings. Photos by Erin Wilson.

Risk Leads to Success

Duaa Basim, previously our maker space manager and organizer of this event shared a success story of a pair of makers who attended the event with the hope to make their first sales as painters.

“Marwa and Layla are two of our newest and most amazing pottery makers. They joined our maker space last year and were accepted into the pottery training course.

Both of these young women grew up behind the fence of a refugee camp, but their dreams grew so much bigger than a chain-link fence could contain. During the last year, Marwa and Layla started painting at home, in addition to attending school and learning pottery at our maker space. The Sisterhood team encouraged them and asked them to bring their best work to the maker space to put on display.

We were so impressed with their work, we invited them to participate in our first Sisterhood Bazaar. The girls happily accepted and hoped to sell at least one painting for their first market.

Within two hours, the girls sold all their paintings! Everyone was so surprised that we jumped up and down with the girls in joy! 

We believe that Marwa and Layla will carry this happy memory with them all their lives and that it will push them to try new things, and become amazing artists.”

Powerful Bridges

When programming is designed to serve people first–not systems–so much becomes possible. The same knowledge and expertise that helps young people land jobs in the digital world can help every small business owner, craftsperson, and artist. With intention, silos can become bridges and stepping stones to successful futures.