Talent in the Room

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March 13, 2023
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September 19, 2023

Looking around the room at the Revija or fashion show—an event culminating the incubator phase of the Skills/Startup Training Empowerment and Practice (STEP) programme—the Operation Mercy staff were blown away by the talented women working together. “This was a dream team in a sense, and I could not help but think God had brought this group together,” described a Hope and Health project leader.


The most recent physiotherapist had transitioned well into the team, and an American doctor of physical therapy, experienced in community education, was preparing to join. Most impressive, perhaps, was the local training team—all past participants of STEP.

Tahira* and Samara* had led these women and facilitated fantastic designs that night. Tahira was about to win an award in Istanbul for her designs and had managed to do something she never dreamed she would have managed—to feature her work at her own fashion show with designers and politicians present, and the event caught on film.

That night represented a kind of transformation. After all, this was really a catwalk from the ghetto. The poor were seated with princes. Participants and trainers come from deep in the enclave, women in family and financial crisis, and others who learned the skills but would not be able to come to such a public event. Possibilities and transformation in a tough terrain were there for all to see. These ladies were valuable, created and gifted by God to create beautiful things of quality.

After graduating STEP, both Tahira and Samara decided to join Operation Mercy’s part-time staff. “My whole life started again with Operation Mercy,” Samara said, as her dream of starting her own business re-ignited. “We wondered if, looking into the future, a social enterprise co-operative could form with Tahira and Samara also employing future STEP participants,” the project leader shared. The quality of training and product in all areas was professional; the standard had been raised. 

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