The Center of Mazaya was founded by a small group of volunteers in order to empower women and send an audacious message: “I'm no longer a liability, I'm an asset”.
Founded in Kafranbel, Idlib, the center is located five stories underground, in a 200-meter cellar, to protect it from air raids and bombardment.
Mazaya was founded in June 2013 to train dozens of women in workshops ranging from literacy to first aid, sewing, languages and computer skills. This helps women achieve financial independence, while also creating a warm environment where women can meet and support each other.
Surprised by the number of women interested in learning, the center, once a temporary project, became an essential part of Kafranbel. “We realized that Syrian women are in desperate need of each other in times like these,” highlights Nour, head of Mazaya to SyriaUntold.
As part of the center's activities, women have woven the biggest Syrian revolution flag, and raised it across the city of Kafranbel.
Since its establishment, the center receives funding from the Kafranbel Media Center, in addition to other groups that support it temporarily, these included Syrian Women Now and Forum organizations.
Nour describes the difficulties they had to face working at the center, ranging from not being accepted by the people of Kafranbel, to endless criticism. Luckily, these brave women have managed to overcome these difficulties and continue their work, which earned them a great deal of respect.
On November 10, 2014, unidentified men broke into the Center of Mazaya, stole its equipment and set it on fire. Artist Raed al-Fares, one of the center's activists commented on the incident saying:
“Some hands struggle to build something and make the lives of others better, while others destroy and burn. The Center of Mazaya will remain active, for it is not a bunch of walls and equipment, but relentless work and effort.”