Snow Finch Project

The project in brief

Implemented by

Zeytinburnu Municipality, İstanbul




November 2015 - Ongoing 

Municipality expects to expand modules of Snow Finch workshops to 15 modules. The workshop’s range of products will also expand.


Zeytinburnu Municipality Support to Family, Women and People with Disabilities Centre (AKDEM) started the Snow Finch Project with the support of UNHCR to support livelihoods opportunities through textile workshops. AKDEM also provides Turkish language courses, information sessions on health and legal rights while supporting women from refugee and host community to feel empowered and enhance their livelihood.

Project aims 

The project aims to empower women from refugees and the host community both economically and socially by providing Turkish Language course, information sessions, seminars and textile workshops.

Resources used 

Working with UNHCR facilitated the implementation of the project, and also as a body of the municipality project made it easier to reach refugee women.

Main activities of the Good Practice

  • The Zeytinburnu AKDEM has provided 33 hours of Turkish language courses in cooperation with the Public Education Centres.
  • AKDEM has delivered various information sessions, trainings and workshops on legal rights, protection mechanism in Turkey, livelihoods opportunities and social cohesion activities along with Snow Finch textile workshop.
  • AKDEM has organized children specific activities and courses in order to expand women’s participations to trainings and workshops.
  • As part of refugee women club activities, AKDEM has provided trainings on women health, legal rights and communication with children with the coordination of NGOs and public institutions.
  • AKDEM has provided 288 hours textile vocational courses. Snow Finch textile workshop has also produced 250 reusable masks on a daily basis during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Women who completed workshop will be able to be hired as ironer, quality controller and overlocker.



  • Public Education Centers
  • Refugees and Asylum Seekers Assistance and Solidarity Association
  • Human Resource Development Foundation (HRDF)
  • Save the Children

Challenges and how they were overcome


AKDEM faced challenges during procurement of textile materials and selling the products because of bureaucratic regulations . The sales of the products took a long time due to these bureaucratic procedures that affected the mass production and as well as motivation of the women working in the production. Social tensions among the host and refugee community occasionally increased. Participants’ motivation to continue the workshops decreased accordingly. Refugee women have faced challenges to attend courses due to limited children spaces and kindergarten opportunities.

How they were overcome

AKDEM provided information sessions to host community members on social cohesion to decrease the negative perception. AKDEM organized children courses and activity sessions at the centre while their mothers participate in the textile workshops. Products are sold through the agreements made with intermediary firms to accelerate the procedures.

Results of the Good Practice 

  • Women including refugees who wanted to work found opportunity with Snow Fitch project.
  • The Project supported social cohesion processes as it provided training to the members of host community on considering different cultures.
  • The Project enhanced refugees self-resilience on access to livelihood opportunities and raised refugees awareness on support mechanisms in Turkey.

How the project meets the GCR Objectives

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

AKDEM provide Turkish language courses, information session on legal rights and living in multicultural environment to enhance self-reliance OF refugees. The project supports refugees to access livelihood opportunities through textile workshop.

Next steps 

AKDEM is willing to expand the range of products of the textile workshop other than reusable masks and bags. In addition, cooperation with private sectors will scale up the project. It may be possible to sell the products via social media accounts as well. The Project is willing to ensure to increase women’s empowerment to sell their products by themselves.