Syria – Women-Only Village: Jinwar
Date: March 3, 2023
Jinwar: A Women-Only Village in Syria
By Jinwar Women
Jinwar is a village for women and children in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (Rojava). Its construction began on 25th November 2016, during the Syrian Civil War and it was officially inaugurated on 25th November 2018, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It is in part inspired by the women’s village of Umoja, Kenya. It is based on the principle of self-sustainability and aims to give women a safe place to live, without violence and oppression. The word “Jin” means “woman” in the Kurdish language. The word “war” means “space”, “land” or “home”. Together the word “Jinwar” literally means “woman’s place” or “woman’s land.” The women of Jinwar have created this community to be a place of solace for the oppression women have endured for centuries in Syria.
Jinwar is a reflection of the Rojava women’s revolutionary principles — that by giving women the necessary resources and tools to educate themselves, they will free themselves from the social constraints of a patriarchal society, which in turn creates freedom for everyone. Through the implementation of educational programs such as sewing, reading and writing, and even driving lessons, the women and children in Jinwar have an abundance of opportunities they could not have believed possible before moving there.
Newsletter from JINWAR:
Dear friends, dear supporters of JINWAR, we are happy that this newsletter reaches you. A long time passed, since we distributed our last Newsletter and meanwhile many of you tried to reach us to see how we are.
As you all heard about the earthquake that impacted Kurdistan (Bakûr and Rojava), Turkey and Syria we first of all want to let you know, that we are fine. Here in JINWAR, we felt the earth moving but fortunately there was no direct harm on houses or families. After checking all the houses – as far as we can see – for now there is no visible deformation but we are still worried about the impact further earthquakes might have on the village. Even if there was not direct harm in the village, the heart of everyone here is with people who lost their houses and who lost members of their family and friends. We are really sad and sorry for what happened and sending all our love and strength to the people.
In the last months JINWAR was furthermore under the threat of war. Some villages around JINWAR were hit by the Turkish shellings and houses were destroyed. This of course also has an impact on daily life in JINWAR. All the women and children decided to stay in the village and to use their voices publicly to make clear that they stand together against the war and that they will not leave the village.
As summer and autumn were over, people waited for the rain and the snow to come. This year it was a long period of waiting and when the rain finally arrived in January, everybody was happy because – as in a lot of places all over the world – here we can say and see that water means life. In February also snow came for a short period of time, which most of the times is a big joy and something to celebrate, especially for the children. This time, the situation was different. At the same time the snow came, the earthquake also happened. But also during the intensified war and the earthquake disaster, daily life continues and the preparations for planting new vegetables and crops have been completed. Besides other things, beans, wheat and barley have already been planted and the women continue to bake their own delicious bread.
Furthermore last year women had a sewing class and now one of the houses in JINWAR is turned into an atelier for sewing. The women are starting to work there, producing their own necessities and things to sell. The children are continuing their creative self-education with dancing and creating bracelets. Besides that, guests from outside and inside Rojava are still coming to the village – this doesn’t stop even during times of intensified war. The friends of JINWAR in Europe are continuing their work as well so that the village of JINWAR is well known also beyond the borders of Rojava.
At the same time, here we also started to visit different cities in Rojava, to introduce the village and to invite women and children to come and live here. We are really happy and excited that in the last months new women and children arrived and now around 15 houses are filled with life. Now we have a one year old girl, for whom we are very excited to join her growing up. We also have 4 new baby dogs and new baby sheep.
Besides the daily work, we are also making plans for the future. We are happy and excited to welcome new guests in spring and we are preparing ourselves for that and for the upcoming new projects. In Spring we have new projects for the new Shifa Jin natural health garden. Now we are organizing to get the seeds to plant. JINWAR furthermore is an ongoing project and there are always works to do concerning the village. In summer we need to repair roofs of houses and we are looking for financial support for this.
In the period of intensive war, the Turkish state also attacked infrastructure in the region of the Autonomous Administration North and East Syria. This influenced the electricity system as well as the production of oil that is needed to warm up the houses. Luckily in JINWAR we have a solar panel to be more independent. Unfortunately one part of the solar panel is broken so that the energy was just reaching half of the houses while the other half remained dark. As you know we are open for donations but on the same time Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê e.V. is also waiting for donations to support the regions that were influenced by the earthquake.
Donation options in various countries can be found at https://www.heyvasor.com/en/