Aid & Development

Syrian Refugees in Dohuk Set up Small Businesses to Support Themselves


Women displaced from Syria and settled in Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan, are making their livelihoods with the assistance of the German Society for International Cooperation.

Thousands of Syrians have fled the civil conflict in their country and have settled in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Many of these are women now living as refugees in the KRI and earning their own livelihood for themselves and their children, in the absence of men.

After the aid from organisations was cut off, people were forced to turn to work. Some women work in house cleaning and some work in sewing. Women are willing to do anything. If they don’t, they can’t feed their children”, said Amina Timu, a Syrian refugee woman living in the camp of Domiz, near the city of Dohuk in the KRI.

Some have continued their professions from back home, having worked as sewers and cleaners before, but others are picking up new trades. 19-year-old Magda Abdel Karim started the Agricultural Farming Tent Project with her friends in Dohuk. Her work involves pick growing cucumbers. 

Our project involves the cultivation of cucumbers, as you can see. I work with my friends here to afford the needs of our households and support our families”, explained Magda Abdel Karim.

The German development agency German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) is involved in assisting these women find employment that will allow them to earn livelihoods for themselves and their families. Women who have been displaced as a result of the civil conflict in Syria have relied on the assistance provided by international and non-governmental organisations, as well as organisations established by the political authorities in the north of Syria, including the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.

For instance, workshops were held by the Syrian Women’s Council and UN Women to discuss the needs of women who had come from Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour.

The importance of such efforts cannot be understated in the post-ISIS period where Syrian women are (re)claiming roles in the public spheres.