Women’s Cultural Forum in Azaz: A space for study and networking

The Women's Cultural Forum in Azaz opened on May 19, 2024 (Cultural Forum/Facebook)

The Women's Cultural Forum in Azaz opened on May 19, 2024 (Cultural Forum/Facebook)


Azaz – Dayan Junpaz

The Women’s Cultural Forum was recently inaugurated in the city of Azaz in northern Aleppo countryside on May 19, 2024. The forum offers space for women to engage in various recreational activities, provides a suitable environment for university students to study, and offers opportunities to read books and magazines, and exchange experiences with other women.

The forum offers a place for workshops, events, and cultural training. It provides a range of programs aiming for personal and professional development and raising awareness among women, according to the forum’s Facebook page.

Quiet environment and nominal fees

The forum supervisor, Nisreen Nassif, told Enab Baladi that the goal is to empower women culturally and socially and to provide a safe place that respects the customs and traditions of the region.

She added that the center offers a quiet and suitable environment for university students to study, with a designated room that includes a large library of books and scientific references, as well as computers for research and study, in addition to a hall for training and seminars.

The idea of establishing the women’s cultural center began when Nassif noticed the struggles of university students who had to travel long distances and were financially exploited due to the area’s high population density, forcing them to stay in shared houses that did not provide a conducive study environment.

Nassif mentioned that all services are provided at symbolic and “almost free” fees not exceeding 25 Turkish lira, including a coffee break with all kinds of hot and cold drinks.

She considered that the fees are very minor given the services provided and are necessary to cover the operating costs of the center and provide income for the employees, noting that the center is a personal property, making it easier for the fees to be low.

For networking and studying

Enab Baladi met with visitors to the forum and gathered their opinions and experiences. Hiba Allam expressed her admiration for the organization and the provided services and the wide range of books available, considering the atmosphere comfortable and safe.

Allam mentioned that she had attended women’s sessions at the forum in recent days, which allowed her to interact and communicate with other women, noting that the forum is an important step towards empowering women and building a balanced and just society.

Maryam Yassin, an economics student at the Free Aleppo University, considered that the forum provided her with a suitable environment, which she lacked in her university residence, for studying and research at a symbolic fee of 25 Turkish lira per day.

The student pointed out that she benefited at low costs and was able to write a research paper without spending much money, time, and effort, thanks to the availability of books and computers.

She attended several trainings, the latest being a training titled “Exam Anxiety,” which she described as rich in information that helped her a lot and sparked a strong desire to attend more trainings held at the forum, according to her.

Northwestern Syria is witnessing significant activity in projects managed by women, which constitute a primary source of income for their families, as well as active training centers offering various courses supported by local organizations and entities.

Despite the existence of private projects and training institutions, many women are forced to engage in strenuous and risky jobs to meet their diverse needs, in light of rising prices and low wages.

Some women, especially those residing in displacement camps in northern Syria, resort to jobs known locally to be men’s work or to dangerous activities like scavenging through garbage for plastics, amid the spread of unexploded ordnance from the war remnants.


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