Our Story

ANKA in Turkish | ANQA in Arabic (عنقاء)

“Anka” translates to “Phoenix”, an ancient mythical bird which obtains new life by arising from the ashes of it’s predecessor. The legendary Anka motif has been woven into carpets throughout the region since the dawn of the craft, and is believed to represent rebirth after a significant struggle.

The inspiration for our name came from a sketch drawn by a Syrian refugee, showing a phoenix bird rising from the flames. One wing was colored as the Turkish flag, the other, as the free Syrian flag. The heartfelt image perfectly symbolizes the struggles and hopes of the Syrian refugees living in Turkey.

The Anka Cooperative is currently working with 250 Syrian refugee women by teaching them the craft of rug weaving and employing them to rise again from the ashes of their past lives. Our goal is to expand this opportunity to 20,000 vulnerable refugees by 2020 by leveraging the proceeds from the sale of our rugs, and by partnering with leading refugee charities.

The cinders of Anka ignited in 2012 when our CoFounder Neslihan approached the refugee camp management in Adiyaman, Turkey with an idea to employ and empower refugees by training them to craft high-quality, handwoven rugs. CoFounder Josh joined in 2015 to help scale the operation and to spread the word of this sustainable and worthy cause. The Anka Cooperative is an initiative of Woven Legends which has helped to employ and empower tens of thousands of women in the Middle East for over 35 years. This phoenix is rising, but we need your help to take the Anka Cooperative to even further heights.