Beautiful knitwear
made by Syrian women

We commissioned this crochet child’s lifejacket from Abeer for World Refugee Day in June 2019. We wanted to illustrate, with a symbol of the refugee crisis, how some refugees are staying afloat thanks to their skills. In the case of Knitstanbul, these skills are crochet and knitting, and a few of our ladies sustain their families entirely by their work for us. This lifejacket is currently in London and it is for sale, to raise cash for our project. Please enquire at [email protected]

we work towards

Refugee Empowerment

Knitstanbul is a social enterprise that was started in Istanbul in 2015.

It empowers Syrian refugee women by employing them to knit baby and children’s clothes and toys, which are then sold in Turkey, Europe and the US.

Knitstanbul is run by a team of Syrian refugees and British volunteers in Istanbul and London.

Syrian Knitters

Knitwear Designs

+ Countries Sold

Featured Handmade Products

Remembrance Day brooch

Macrame bag made by Abeer

Tala bunny the beautiful girl

Get Involved

Support our women

We pay our knitters well, and we try and keep a slush fund so that we can help them out if they are in sudden financial difficulty.

Our fixed costs are low – the only person who is paid a salary is our manager in Istanbul – and we depend a great deal on the help of volunteers, who donate their time, their suitcase space and their skills.

With donations and any profit, we keep up this website, we protect ourselves from the volatility of the Turkish lira, we buy wool for samples and in advance of orders, and we develop and buy packaging.

Every donation, however small, really helps! Paypal is the easiest, but we can also take cash in Istanbul.

“Inevitably, the project has become about more than knitting. The volunteers and the knitters form a close family, and we share news and stories. When our Syrian coordinator’s son Mohamed got accepted to a top US university, we all cried with joy. When our English coordinator had her baby in Istanbul last month, the ladies held a baby shower, and gifted him so many knitted items.”

– Malika Browne, founder.

Love | Positivity | Sharing

I ordered 12 little knitted cats for my daughter’s party, as going home presents. Knitstanbul sent each one with its own little bag and a branded tag. Everyone was so delighted to receive something entirely different and original (made a change from Haribos and plastic toys) and it was amazing to support the knitters’ efforts in the process.

Emily, Somerset UK

I’m a knitter and I love making handmade gifts. However, I give Knitstanbul sweaters to all my baby friends because I want to support Syrian women and because they knit much better than I do! Each item has impressed me with it’s durability and beauty.

Juliet, London UK

I just wanted to say that I learned about KNITSTANBUL through a segment on Al-Jazeera. What a wonderful cause! I’m looking forward to giving this beautiful toy to my one-year-old niece. Thank you for all you do

Carolyn, Tokyo

Everything I have ordered has been beautifully made, unique and makes me feel happy to support the women and their work

Mishal, London UK

I meant to say my niece is kept so warm and cosy in the romper I bought her in the new year when she was just a few weeks old!! Really beautiful and skilled knitting! Thank you.

Lily, London UK

My bunny and pig arrived yesterday and they are adorable (and really well-made). Thank you so much for sending them out.


The reindeer are amazing and we love them. Thank you very, very much. They will be greatly loved.

Susan, Worcestershire, UK

A fabulous, unique and home-made reindeer from Knitstanbul. Intended for my daughter but I might keep it for myself!

Juliet, London UK

Thank you – love the donuts. . . . . and the cherry brooch. All of them gorgeous! Thank you.

Lisa G, Essex

“Knitstanbul is a great opportunity for me to earn some money. I live alone in Istanbul with my child. Nobody is supporting me.”

– Souhair, Knitstanbul manager in Istanbul

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