Nazhat, Lamyaa, Hiyam and Intisar are among the extraordinary women who make each Akkadian Collection Candle by hand. They live in Baghdad where despite many challenges, they are determined to create a brighter future for themselves and their children.
With only a grade school education and very little work-experience, Hiyam was suddenly faced with the responsibility of supporting her family when her husband became disabled in 1997. Though she had dreamed of attending college and having a successful career, her traditional marriage prevented her from fulfilling those dreams. In 2009 she learned about the opportunity to become trained in candle-making and for Hiyam, this opportunity has launched a career.
"A candle gives light to others. My first candle gave me this impression and every time I make candles I feel a joy." - Hiyam Muhsin, August 2015
Born in Baghdad, Nazhat is married with children. Early in her marriage she faced traditions that discouraged women from employment outside the home. Nazhat was ready to give up on her dreams until she realized her daughters would face the same destiny. So she decided to make changes that would benefit the whole family. Today Nazhat makes beautiful candles for local and international clients. Her daughters have graduated from college and her husband supports her entrepreneurial aspirations.
"I am a new woman who can work and support others, the woman that I always loved and dreamed to be." - Nazhat Hadi, August 2015
Azhar is a recent college graduate and the oldest of 12 siblings. Even with a college degree, Azhar has had difficulty finding employment in Iraq's struggling economy. She was thrilled to participate in the candle-making training and to become a trainer herself. She is gaining valuable skills and is able to help support her large family.