|Zeliha Serin (Season 02 - Episode 20)|
This Week's Changemaker; Zeliha Serin Contributes to Local Economy Utilizing Women Capital
On 10 March 2011 Sabanci Foundation's "Turkey's Changemakers" program hosts Zeliha Serin, a handicraft teacher who made tons of unused remnant leather useful for the local economy through utilizing women capital.
Zeliha Serin worked in numerous cities of Turkey, as her husband is a public servant who had to move from one city to another very often. She became acquainted with leather when her husband got appointed to Gerede district of Bolu; a province in the Black Sea Region to do a research on the leather industry. The economy of the Gerede District in Bolu has been dependent on leather factories for long years. Bolu has provided with almost half of Turkey's leather production with 120 leather factories, which has been the main sources of employment for Gerede's locals. While tons of leather is fabricated in those factories every day, remnant pieces of leather have been thrown aside.
When Zeliha Serin realized remnant leather pieces she started to ponder upon making good use of them. In 2006, with the help of the Municipality, Regional District and the Public Education Centre, she started a handicraft course on leather. During her 8-week-long course, she taught trainees how to make wallets, belts, souvenirs, bags, key chains and carpets out of remnant pieces of leather. At the end of the course, women trained at the Public Education Centre were able to showcase and sell their leather products.
Thanks to Ms. Serin's efforts, over 350 women attended the handicraft courses. As a result, 30 women entrepreneurs opened a store where they started producing their own leather products. These bags, carpets and accessories made out of remnant pieces of leather became a source of additional income for many households. Zeliha Serin's project did not only contribute to the women's lives but also environment and local economy.