Turkish and Syrian women are making a living together by selling vegetables they grow in a greenhouse that operates under a cooperative.

Seventeen women in Turkey’s southeastern province of Sanliurfa founded the SAF Women’s Initiative Agricultural Production and Processing Cooperative last year with the financing of the UN Migration Agency.

The number of women who started vegetable production in the fully automated greenhouse established with the support of Sanliurfa Metropolitan Municipality and Harran University on an area of 2,000 square meters (21,527 square feet) increased rapidly and reached 86 this year.

Seher Kilic, the head of the cooperative, told Anadolu Agency that they started this initiative with a group of women who believed in themselves and are confident.

“We established the cooperative in May 2020,” Kilic said, adding that they provide permanent employment to 30 women there.

“Women, who are seasonal workers in this region, come here to earn their daily living. Hopefully, after this, we will increase our numbers and continue to support women,” she said.

Kilic said that their achievements as a cooperative have been supported by the Family and Social Services Ministry, Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, and Trade Ministry through different programs and projects.

Hatice Aytekin, 28, a member of the cooperative and mother to five children, said she is so happy to be part of the initiative.

“I look after the produce here like my babies. We closely check them for disease and other problems,” Aytekin said.

With the establishment of the cooperative, their days have become better, she said, adding: “We believed and achieved.”

Sabahat Cini, 20, also works under the cooperative and contributes to the wellbeing of her family, and invests in her future.

Syrian-national Fatima Ramle, who had to take refuge in Turkey with her six children seven years ago, thanked those who gave them the opportunity to earn their bread.

“There is nothing that makes a person happier than contributing to their family,” Ramle said, adding that they get along very well with Turkish women.

*Writing by Sena Guler in Ankara

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