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Misi, a small Turkish village about a two hours’ drive south of Istanbul, was losing much of its local population, heritage and future due to a variety of factors common to modern times. The traditional sericulture and silk making activities which made their village prosperous during the Ottoman era came to an end with globalization and the import of cheap silk products. With the land prices skyrocketing, the traditional village came to the brink of disappearing altogether.

misi womenTourism offered a life rope at this point of despair. A project driven by local women, with a focus on creating a self-sustaining value chain, tourism created jobs at all skills levels, not only directly, but also in other sectors such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and handicrafts.

With the help of Yesil Valiz, the Turkish association for responsible tourism, the group applied for grants which allowed them to restore historic buildings in town and provided the start-up capital to initiate tourism development. Three years later, and the town has cemented its spot on many a visitor’s circuit, and, what’s more, the women continue to have a say in every decision about their home and livelihood. #BeBoldForChange

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