Pre-loved clothes for the needy

Sulaymaniyah clothing bank offers dignity and support during Eid

SULAYMANIYAH — As the Eid Al-Fitr holiday approaches, a group of Sulaymaniyah activists are stepping in to bridge the gap for those struggling to afford new outfits for the holiday. Their recently-launched project, a clothing bank, collects and distributes donated, good-quality secondhand garments to those struggling to buy new items.

The Eid holiday is typically a time when Muslims buy and wear new clothes, but repeated salary delays and financial troubles have left many in the community unable to partake in the tradition.

Launched this Ramadan, the project aims to continue beyond the holy month. Organizers emphasize that clothing donations are in good condition, ensuring recipients’ dignity and access to wearable items.

“This project allows people to give and those in need to receive others’ generosity,” said Trifa Jalal, a project supervisor. Organizers were inspired by similar efforts in Egypt, where clothing and food banks are well-established. The group saw a need for something similar in Sulaymaniyah in light of salary delays, Jalal added.

The initiative comes at a critical time, when the region has seen government employees across numerous sectors on strike and demonstrating due to unpaid salaries. The Kurdistan Regional Government announced on March 28 that wages for February would be paid, following a 55-day delay since the last payments.

The clothing bank aims to offer a beacon of hope, allowing families to celebrate Eid traditions without financial hardship.

“We plan to expand the project beyond Sulaymaniyah,” Jalal added, sharing the group’s intention to place donation boxes in public spaces for greater accessibility.

Clothing banks worldwide are evolving to offer more than just clothing. Different initiatives incorporate job training, healthcare services, and other forms of support, creating a holistic approach to community aid.

In Toronto, Canada, the GLOW program provides clean, modern clothing in a retail-style setting to low-income residents. Similarly, the YWCA’s Working Wardrobe program in Washington state offers free, professional attire to women seeking employment, empowering them towards economic independence.

Sulaymaniyah’s clothing bank joins the growing movement, offering a sense of dignity to those in need.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the name of the Sulaymaniyah clothing bank.