Pictured: (L) Bakhsheen Taha Solaee, (M) Biza Barzo, (R) Sazan M. Mandalawi.
Kurdish activists throughout Kurdistan Region have launched a nationwide campaign called #KurdishClothesForAll. The campaign’s message is simple: Providing Kurdish clothes for those from poor and financially tied up families in the spirit of Newruz.
More than one thousand people have spread the message of this campaign on Facebook, Instagram and other social networking outlets. They have posted pictures of themselves, short video-clips and pictures of traditional Kurdish clothing as well.
The main drop-off points and participants can be found on this Facebook event page.
One of the main activists behind the campaign, Biza Barzo, 23-year-old student from the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani says, “I believe campaigns like these not only bring out the best in the Kurdish people who are well known for their generosity and kindness, but also have a positive impact on environmental values in the region.”
On her motivation to lead this campaign, she says “I want to share the joy of Newruz on a greater level, especially during this time of crisis, so that no one is left in sorrow for not affording new sets of sparkly clothes this year.”
Simple acts of kindness such as donating Kurdish clothes you no longer use can sparkle up someone’s day during this beautiful season of Newruz — Biza Barzo.
Also joining the campaign, Sazan M. Mandalawi, author of “My Nest in Kurdistan” tells me she has worked closely with people who are financially unstable, and living on the verge of poverty.
She says, “For so many families, new Kurdish clothes for Newruz is a luxury this year due to their financial situation.”
The Kurdistan Region has struggled with the worst financial crisis in recent history as oil prices shrunk, and an ongoing militant threat materialised in the region. As a result, jobs have declined and business investment.
The bright colours and life in Kurdish clothes never die, they can be passed from person to person, and still look as beautiful and bright — Sazan M. Mandalawi.
Her main motivation of joining the campaign was “for the children. I have some families in mind, fathers martyred, I know their kids will love having new Jili Kurdi (Kurdish dresses).”
Bakhsheen Taha Solaee, 23-year-old environmental activist, also part of the campaign says “I’d like to highlight a different aspect of this campaign, not its charitable nature and humane approach, but I’d like to know what our carbon footprint is in the region.”
She stresses the environmental aspect of this campaign, saying “a piece of fabric takes decades for it to decompose and most of the products we use is either nylon or polyester.”
When we think of donating clothes, we do so in terms of survival, but not in terms of promoting wholesome living — Bakhsheen Taha Solaee.
Newruz refers to the celebration of the Kurdish New Year, which is marked on March 21st. Kurds throughout the region and internationally mark this occasion by adorning themselves in traditional Kurdish clothing, and engaging in a host of festivities.