Jana Organization

30 June 2015

Jana is the first woman organization to be established in the city of Raqqa since its liberation, out of women's need to "  assert their role in rebuilding their society and to take their rightful place next to the men in the Syrian revolution" as one of the organization's ten founders articulates.

The main obstacle identified by the group was financial, which limited their ability to have a suitable headquarters to start their activities. The headquarters that they own today, formerly a club for children with diabetes that was bombed by regime forces, was only acquired after a month-long sit-in in March 2012 against the Ahrar al-Sham Islamist group who took control of it. Jana women cleaned and rehabilitated the kid's club, they even re-opened it and welcomed children back.

Another obstacle that has faced the group is women's lack of interest in this kind of work, which they partly attribute, to their fear from the dominant militias in the city, as well as the prospects that the regime might come back.

Their activities focused on serving their communities through humanitarian and community development efforts. They adapt their work to the dominant conditions and needs of their community. Their “Let There Be Bread Between Us” campaign was a response to the bread shortages in town where they made Arabic bread and distributed it freely. They have also made a point of asserting their role among other civil society projects through their participation in collaborative projects like “I Won’t Leave My School” and “Let’s Share Our Medicines”.

At its early formation, the group preferred to fund their projects by themselves, refusing any kind of conditional funding. Later, through a grant and cooperation agreement with a Norwegian aid agency, they were able to found two small businesses that offer employment for women (making foodstuffs and sewing).

The organization tries, in determining their priorities, to balance the resources at hand with the needs of their community. This led them to choose the previous two workshops, in response to the deteriorating economic level for many families, due to rising prices and withheld salaries.

Jana, a group of ten women who are determined to continue their struggle, helping women take their rightful place in society with more awareness, working "side by side with men in creating a country for all Syrians."


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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad