Bridge From Women To Women (2005 - 2007)

"Bridge from Women to Women" was a social responsibility project on empowering women and creating capacity. Women in Mardin are supported to produce their local, traditional goods with the collaboration of ÇATOM by KAGIDER volunteers and sponsors DHL and Johnson Diversey. The traditional tablecloth was designed by Cemil İpekçi, with the inspiration of authentic models. Another product of this World Bank Award winning project is the traditional soap made up of wild pistachio oil.

Aim of the Project
Contributing to the socio-economic development of the women who live in Mardin and thus increasing their status as well as reducing regional disparities.

The project aimed to develop an encouraging model that would contribute to women entrepreneurship in the region and build stronger partnerships between GIDEM, ÇATOM and other organizations which are active in the region.

Project Activities
– Introducing local and marketable products.

– Improving the production and entrepreneurship skills of local women cooperatives.

– Providing marketing and financing support.

Within the context of the project, six successful fashion and textiles design students from Yeditepe University were selected and they were hosted in Mardin. While in Mardin, they perused neighbor towns and villages, ÇATOM workshops and Mardin houses. They also developed designs which had the characteristic patterns of Mardin and attempted to prient these designs to be applied toproducts that could be produced and sold to external market. On 19 October 2005, the designs which were the results of those works were evaluated by the jury and four of the designs were awarded:

• Mardin Houses Table Cloth

• Telkarili Bittim Soup Box

• Ottoman Slippers

• Decorative Glass Bottle

In the second phase of the project,
In order to produce the designs that were awarded and to turn them into marketable products, cooperation with women in Mardin wasundertaken. KAGIDER gave trainingcourses to 90 selected women about the processes of production, marketing and entrepreneurship.

In the third phase of the project,
For the production of the traditional table cloth, Cemil Ipekci, who is one of the leading fashion designers in Turkey, undertook a long research project which revealed products that are unique to Mardin. DHL Express decided to put the hand-made Mardin table clothes in its Gift Express catalogue, which were designed by Cemil Ipekci and produced by the women in Mardin.

Within the context of the project, 288 table clothes were sold as New Year presents. Seventy percent of the table clothes were sent to Europe and DHL Express customers sent those table clothes to their customers abroad.

The Bridge From Women to Women Project started with funds received from the World Bank in 2005. In 3 years, the project passed through a number of phases and the women who were involved in the project began to produce the traditional table clothes (designed by Cemil İpekci) and the Mardin Bıttım Soap. For this, cooperation was undertaken with ÇATOM in 2007. Table clothes (with the sponsorship of DHL) and Bittim Soaps (with the sponsorship of Johnson Diversey) were presented to the world and to Turkey and until now, the project revenue was about 25.000 YTL.