What We Do
Tight Knit Syria is a non-profit organization that works with displaced Syrian women and connects their beautifully handmade products to local and international markets.
We currently work with two collectives (Northern Syria and Lebanon) where many of our artisans have fled war and are faced with challenges in refugee camps, including lack of sufficient humanitarian aid, high daily expenses, and extreme living conditions.
Although they were forced to leave their belongings behind, they brought with them the knowledge of traditional skill sets like embroidery, crocheting, and knitting, passed on from their mothers and grandmothers. Coupled with their resilience, resourcefulness and creativity, these women have the ability to earn an income to support themselves and their families.
We’ve learned over time that providing the right resources and tools to women in vulnerable communities has a powerful ripple effect: promoting gender equality, preventing child labour and marriage, nurturing psychological well-being, combating social isolation, and contributing to a more inclusive global economy.
How It Started
Tight Knit Syria began in 2013 after Dana Kandalaft visited a camp for internally displaced persons in Northern Syria. She had done so because she wanted to understand the Syrian humanitarian crisis firsthand and meet the people impacted.
That day, an unexpected frenzy was sparked among a group of girls when one girl in particular named Sebra pointed out Dana’s rainbow-coloured knitted purse and yelled, “Souf! Souf!” (meaning yarn). Since Dana was unfamiliar with this Arabic word, Sebra brought Dana to her tent and showed her a purple knitted dress with a crocheted flower. She had made the dress using donated yarn with the help of her mother and grandmother.
This was when Dana had a lightbulb moment, realizing she could collect donated yarn from home in Canada and try to sell the women’s products in her community. She wrote up a plan for Tight Knit Syria that very night.
Since then, Tight Knit Syria continues to grow, including starting a second artisan collective in Lebanon in 2015; expanding their product line to include embroidered and upcycled items; establishing relationships in 10+ countries beyond Canada; and introducing an educational program, which allows the women to be sustainable in their entrepreneurial goals.