“If there is no men, women will work and provide. We don’t need men, they are oppressive.”
This is the creed of a community of women in Syria who have created a self-sufficient female commune with the help of women’s rights groups.
Jinwar is the name of the village, which translates to “women’s space” or “women’s land” in Kurdish, the native language of Kurds, an Iranian ethnic group of the Middle East.
Jinwar is located in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, known as Rojava. The community is self-sustainable and requires the hard work of everyone in the village. Members of the village take turns cooking and even eat meals together in a communal kitchen. The village has animals to take care of, farmland to tend to, and a local school where children get an education. Jinwar resident Amira Muhammad told The Independent,
“Here they provide a lot of benefits like education for the kids, their living expenses. It is a nice village, most importantly, my kids like it.”
Muhammad sought refuge in Jinwar after her husband was murdered by ISIS. First, Muhammed and her five children moved home with her parents, but after becoming dependent on them for the help, she came to Jinwar.
“I came here because I have five kids and I didn’t have an income or a house to live in. Here they provide a lot of benefits like education for the kids, their living expenses. It is a nice village, most importantly, my kids like it. We do our own farming, we plant trees. Every woman farms her own lot for her kids. We sell the harvest, and use the revenue to support our expenses.”
Rojava became a de facto autonomous region in 2012. The village of Jinwar, which launched on International Day Against Violence Against Women, was made for and became a safe haven for women whose families have suffered at the hands of violence. Amid the Syrian Civil War, ISIS has slaughtered Yazidi men and raped, murdered, abused, and tortured thousands of Syrian women. Jinwar welcomes all women who have suffered at the expense of ISIS — widows and single women without families may join the commune as well.
The village of Jinwar has 30 homes, a school, a museum, and a medical center.
Another resident, 28-year-old Jinwar resident Zainab Gavary, said,
“Until women educate and empower themselves, there won’t be freedom. There’s no need for men here. Our lives are good.”
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Steph Osmanski is a freelance writer and social media consultant who specializes in health and wellness content. Her words have appeared in Seventeen, Life & Style, Darling Magazine, and more. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton and writing a memoir.