Ninurta is a Beirut-based Lebanese NGO registered in March 2016. The non-profit organization was established in response to the millions of Syrian refugees displaced by the conflict since 2011.
Over 1.5 million Syrians have taken refuge in Lebanon, including artisans that brought with them traditional arts and crafts skills. Syrian refugees live in exceedingly difficult conditions while women and children – which make up the majority of the refugees - are the most vulnerable group.
In 2011, one of the organization’s founders started supporting women-led workshops. This led to a focus on traditional arts and crafts, and greater outreach to vulnerable refugees and Lebanese women.
In September 2015, support and funding was provided by the Crisis and Forecast Center of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, and the CCFD–Terre Solidaire, the Catholic Committee against hunger and for development.
Ninurta was chosen as the name for the NGO, referring to the Babylonian leader, as well as the Sumerian goddess of peace. From the lands of Mesopotamia to the shores of the Levant, this beguiling, multi-faced character embodies the history and mythology of the Middle East.
On 1 May 2016, Ninurta opened its doors to its first beneficiaries and their children.
Women are taught textiles and craft work, a skill passed down through the generations. Through these workshops, the participants learn vocational skills and make various artisanal pieces for the organization.
The textile workshop is not just a place of learning but also an escape from daily life and an opportunity to work side-by-side with other women. The workshops also function as a space for personal and societal development, in addition to encouraging coexistence.
As an ethos, Ninurta believes that by training and protecting women greater societal inclusion can occur, while by focusing on artisanal skills such traditions and intangible heritage of the Middle-East can be preserved and will continue to be cherished by future generations.
Ninurta takes into account all the non-material dimensions that are part of building a coexistent society, one which is open to the world at large, and to all kinds of creativity.
Ninurta welcomes participants’ children during the training workshops, as well as children whose mothers are not in the program. The educational space offers basic learning, remedial school support, and enhances the personal development of each child.