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Khabar Khair (Only Good News) – Fatima Rashed

With her kind smile, we started with Anisa Tarboush, the woman who has filled a space that could not be unfilled in the hearts of those who knew her, is a simple spinning and weaving worker. This is how she wanted to introduce herself. She joined the textile factory in Aden at the age of 15.

 “The circumstances were compelling because I am the older sister and it is my responsibility to assist my brothers in education”, Anisa tells “Khabar Khair” (Only Good News) website, and because of that, I left the regular studies and joined the October 14th Institute, so that I could continue my studies”.

Anisa says, “Thanks to the different experiences that I went through, I was able to refine my talent, and was able to qualify and develop myself. I am a person who does not stand in one place. This is my nature, whether in professional or creative and crafts work”.

About one of her practical stations in the spinning and weaving factory, and all the memories flowing in her mind, she says, “The most difficult situations that happened to me while I was in the textile factory were when the factory stopped working, and there was a decision that prevented any worker having another profession from working in it, so I went to the syndication, thanks to which I knew everything about the rights and occupational safety of the worker. I became an expert in occupational safety when I got a scholarship in Syria”.

Tarboush has many works and stations, as she is a woman who overcame all difficulties in her own efforts to reach the founding of the Sewing and Handicraft Production Association. She presided over this association for 11 years, until she established today the first craftsmen union in Aden Governorate, after it consisted of associations and individual efforts working in an unorganized manner that negatively affected the efforts of craftsmen.

Majid Al-Shajri, President of the Civil Society Organizations and Associations Union, says, “Anisa is one of the first to work in community work for people with special needs, as she established a factory for professional and handcraft works and had a great role in training young men and women and honing their skills in handicrafts”.

He added, “Anisa is one of the women who worked to attract many associations and organizations and to create common fields of work on training and developing craft skills”.

Anisa sought to consolidate and publicize this Union so that it would find light through a variety of institutions and associations headed by the professors Hoda Mahfouz, Khadija Jameh, Suluk Shawalat, and Sumaya Al-Karimi.

Since its inception in February of this year, the number of members of the Union has reached 45, distributed among a center, an institution and an association, and the number is still increasing due to the demand for membership applications to the union.

Made in Yemen
“The union aims to improve craftsmen’s income, work continuity, and preserve our heritage”, Tarboush says.

She added, “We do not want anyone to mock our union and say: It is an ordinary union, but rather a significant union, especially since we have coordinated with the Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Industry, and we are in the process of searching for an expert to help us arrange the crafts, so that we can export what has been produced to foreign countries, where I hope to see the words Made in Yemen printed on the products that we intend to export”.

Regarding future projects that the union is working on, Tarboush says, “We seek to find a headquarters for the union and collect data for all craftsmen, make thoughtful plans for the union, study the projects targeted by the members, in addition to rehabilitating the union’s cadres and craftsmen, and making the necessary arrangements for the first artisan festival in Aden Governorate”.

With confidence, Anisa says, “It is true that we do not have supporters, but we have the tools that will help us attract supporters, and now the moral support we have suffices”.

And she adds, “What concerns me at the present time is how I can improve the income of craftsmen and craftswomen. We want to open the field of export and benefit from foreign markets, coordinate with the competent authorities, and revive the handicraft market. We have many trades that must be taken care of, such as musical instruments, leather, and recycling. I want the union of craftsmen to succeed with my daughters and my sons, the craftsmen and the craftswomen”.

In addition to the “Iron Woman” title, Anisa Tarboush was called the “Hope Maker”.

On this, the head of the Adeni Women Association, Amal Abdel Qader, says, “Anisa supported the girls to establish their own projects and helped them rely on themselves. For them, she was the mother and sister, who educates and gives without getting bored”.

Amal added, “The biggest achievement in Anisa’s career is the establishment of the Craftsmen Union, which is a tangible initiative in her community work”.

After the Craftsmen Union is declared and approved by the administrative body, the craftsmen are waiting for their festival to be held in the governorate of Aden.

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Tamara Boulos

Tamara Boulos

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