What we do
Tight-Knit Syria (TKS) is a non-profit organization that has been working for and with displaced Syrian women since 2013 to let their natural abilities shine. Many Syrian women have amazing traditional artisanal skill sets like embroidery, crocheting and knitting; coupled with their resilience, resourcefulness and creativity, they have the ability to earn an additional income to support themselves and their families. TKS works to create a platform where the beautiful hand-made items created by the artisans in TKS’s two collectives in Syria and Lebanon can connect with the many buyers, retailers and designers around the world who love a hand-made item with a story.
Empowering women has a powerful ripple effect, promoting inclusive growth, combating child labour, preserving traditional skill sets, promoting psychological well-being and combating social isolation…and so much more.
How it started
Dana Kandalaft founded TKS in March 2013 after visiting an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Northern Syria. The rainbow-colored knitted purse she was wearing that day sparked an unexpected frenzy among girls of all ages residing in the camp. A little girl named Sebra attracted special attention by pointing at the purse and yelling, “Souf! Souf!”
Since Dana was unfamiliar with this Arabic word, Sebra showed Dana the purple knitted dress with crocheted flower that she had made herself. Souf meant yarn.
Sebra had made the dress using donated yarn with the help of her mother and grandmother, and with her many other girls who began to show off their own knitted masterpieces.
This was when Dana had a lightbulb moment, realizing that these women could use their traditional skills and creativity to earn money for themselves and their families, while at the same time giving people around the world an opportunity to enjoy beautiful, handmade products that benefit refugee communities.
She wrote up a plan for Tight-Knit Syria that very night and hasn’t looked back since. TKS continues to grow its impact, starting a second artisan collective in Lebanon in 2015 and connecting artisans with designers, retailers and consumers across the Middle East and throughout the world.