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Questioning what is worth saving or not, Çöp(m)adam started as an experimental project in Ayvalık addressing the issues of women’s employment in Turkey and the importance of recycling/re-using. çöp(m)adam aims to utilize waste in a creative, aesthetically and unique way.
çöp(m)adam items are produced from the packaging that would be or has been thrown away, by women who have never previously earned a salary. All the products are one-of-a-kind and signed by its producer.
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In the 5 and a half years since we started çöp(m)adam, we have had more than 350 women working with us in different capacities. Some have stayed, and form a core group, that is comprised of an energy and dedication that I could not have envisioned. Others have moved on, for any number of reasons: they find the work to be too demanding, their children are jealous of their time being spent elsewhere, the husbands may insist that they stay at home, they find a full-time job elsewhere, they cannot abide by our make-an-appearance-at-the-workshop-at-least-once-a-week criteria, they are not used to meeting someone else’s criteria and so on. Read more…
It’s Santa Claus but not really – it’s one of the lottery ticket sellers dressed up as Father Christmas but without the belly. The fake Christmas trees with plastic ornaments that are more and more prevalent each year are not for taking home to place presents under to be opened on December 25, but for New Year’s Eve. I used to try and explain the difference but I gave up as I reminded myself that so much of how I grew up celebrating was quite a mix of tradition, religion and sales opportunities. Read more…
In reflecting on the last five years, we spoke about some of the things we have learned.
Some of our lessons learned include (in the order as they come to mind):
- the women who work with us will rise to the occasion of opportunity, taking the opportunities given to them farther than many, including myself, would have expected;
- we have steady customers! :)
- most people think our cats are cute even if they don’t move much in the summer;
- the cost of living here in Turkey has gone up more than a lot of people realize;