Tuesday 30 November, 2021
General trading 11.00am – 6.00pm.
Evening Ticketed Gala Reception 6pm – 8.30pm.
Set up will be from 8.30am.
Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5EE
Tuesday 30 November, 2021
General trading 11.00am – 6.00pm.
Evening Ticketed Gala Reception 6pm – 8.30pm.
Set up will be from 8.30am.
Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5EE
ACE stands for “Antidote for Corona? Embroidery”
This project was conceived by Carol Morton towards the end of April, when she realised that the lockdown in Britain-Scotland-Edinburgh was going to be for a few months and that Hadeel would be closed during that time. The lockdown was also present at the same time in Palestine, which meant that none of the groups that supply the merchandise for Hadeel were receiving any orders from around the world, and no sales to tourists either.
The travel restrictions to Palestine during the lockdown meant that the arranged visit-study tour to see new products, to be led by Carol and Ross Campbell in May, was cancelled.
The film Stitching Palestine, which we had hoped to show to the public this year, was seen earlier in the year by the staff, Council members and volunteers at Hadeel as an introduction. It illustrated the important role that embroidery plays in Palestinian history and contemporary society.
Carol and Ross devised a plan to advertise the ACE project to some of the key supporters of Hadeel. The plan was that people would lend money to the project or donate if they wished to do so. The money was ring-fenced and used for the sole purpose of purchasing embroidery, which is usually done at home by the women, whose freedom to travel is normally reduced due to the movement restrictions imposed on them by the Occupation. The Coronavirus only added to this immobility. These women use embroidery as a therapeutic activity and as a source of income. This became almost nil during the lockdown.
The lenders were given a Loan Token with the value of their loan so that, on the arrival of the goods to Hadeel, they would come and use their Token in lieu of cash or card payment for any goods. They could do that until the value was used up or, if they did not wish to use it all, they would donate the remaining money to Hadeel. This plan also covered those who wished to donate rather than lend their money as they received a Thank You note.
During the time Carol was ordering from and communicating with the groups, she continuously updated the Council and staff with their news and of the arrival of each group’s product. Replies from the groups, describing the difficult situation that had befallen them, were included in regular updates sent to the lenders/donors. All were informed when the goods arrived. Invoices were paid immediately – in some cases partially prepaid, possible because of the loans so generously given.
Staff, volunteers, and customers are amazed by the resultant stunning embroidery display in Hadeel. The goods are already proving popular and quickly being sold so that more orders can be sent to the four Palestinian embroidery groups in the West Bank and two in Gaza. The situation, with the rise in Covid-19 cases there, is worse now, with 4000-5000 cases daily, than when ACE began.
Between April and August, the ACE project raised £7,850 from lenders and donors with an additional £100 recently. A big thank you to all who have contributed and to Carol and Ross.
We hope to see you in Hadeel soon.
Walking around the countryside, climbing the hills and wading on the streams are not only refreshing to the body, but also rejuvenating the soul. They open the eyes to the history of the land and open the mind to the caring actions of the people living on it as well as the destructive forces ruining it. These walks can be lessons in geography, history, human behaviour and current affairs. Raja Shehadeh combines all of the above in a captivating read of his walks around Palestine over a quarter of a century between 1978 and 2005.
“Palestinian Walks” is not meant to be a diary, but it makes a compelling record of how a simple human activity may become an event that is rich in stories, full of information and a lot of in-depth analysis.
As Raja walks around the wadies (valleys) and the hills he describes a journey, through history, of a land that had seen many invaders and witnessed battles that left ruins for the history to remember the suffering of those who lived there at one time. Raja ably takes the readers from the deep history of Christ to the modern life of military checkpoints, new rules of occupation restricting access to beauty spots, a new build of settlements on the hilltops that were once unspoilt and the wide and long roads that cross the land and paradoxically disconnecting Palestinian towns and villages as they connect the Israeli settlements.
Raja is able to take us swiftly and cleverly from talking about the wildlife in the countryside to the stories of family members and friends, which are all connected, to illustrate life in Palestine cities and also in rural communities. The stories give insight into people’s ambitions, frustrations and also their achievements.
In his walks, Raja gives us an insight into the day to day lives of the people of Palestine trying to live a “normal” life in Palestine and the lives of Palestinians who happened to be abroad during the war of 1967 that ended with Palestine falling under Israeli occupation. As a lawyer, Raja sheds a light on some Israeli laws in regards to ownership of properties and land in Palestine. “A Palestinian has only the right to the property he resides in. Once he leaves it for whatever reason, it ceases to be his. It reverts back to those whom the Israeli system considers the original rightful owners of Judea and Samaria, the Jewish People wherever they might be”. He describes the agony of his relatives and acquaintances and also people he represented in courts who fell foul to this unusual law, just because they were abroad for study, for business or for whatever reason on the day of occupation.
The book tells a wide range of stories with a mixture of serious scary confrontations at military check points and a dry sense of humour trying to make cognisance and intellectual analysis of often the unexplainable.
Only reading this book can make you appreciate its richness and any review would not give it justice.
Chair, Palcrafts and Hadeel
Near the end of March 2020 a lock-down took place in the Gaza Strip. Schools, mosques and other businesses had to close until further notice. At that time, there were no Covid-19 cases in Gaza; being the biggest prison on the planet- with restricted borders and people not having the freedom of movement in and out of Gaza, the virus couldn’t find a way in! The lock-down measures took place to protect the Strip from any small chance of a spread of the virus, as the last thing that Gaza needed was a pandemic in the middle of an existing devastating reality. With two million people living in a 139 square miles territory, social distancing would be a big challenge and hospitals had hardly any resources to manage any cases.
In August 2020, the first two cases were confirmed; those were travellers who had come from the West Bank to the Gaza strip. This was the start of the spread of the virus in Gaza which resulted in the imposing of a very restricted lock-down/curfew on the Gaza Strip. People could not go to the shops or move about. As the majority earned their income on a daily basis, it was impossible for them to stock up for a longer period or worry about not having toilet paper!
The lock-down was hardly a new concept for the people of Gaza, having lived in an unjust siege for the previous fourteen years. Nevertheless, a lock-down within a lock-down had a catastrophic impact on the already crushed economy, with many businesses having to close-down. Families struggled to secure the day-to-day basics and were being driven to extreme poverty, whilst the government had no resources to support those affected.
Gazans, as always are resilient in the face of all adversity. Shops started home-delivery services for the first time – whether there would be enough fuel to keep the vehicles going, that’s a different story!
Despite the very limited resources and access to electricity restricted to only 4 hours a day, a small face-mask factory was established to make sure the locals were supplied with the needed masks for their protection. Artists used their talents to help children accept face masks by painting those on their faces (see photo). Teachers were also creative in producing online recorded classes and worksheets, with school children required to wait for their 4 hour slot of electricity to be able to do their school work. Schools also established competitions for children to produce videos about the necessary protective steps to take to avoid the virus. This engaged many children and helped in raising awareness among them in an exciting way.
Regardless of how hard the situation gets in Gaza, Palestinians always find a way with their creativity and resourcefulness to keep going. They teach the whole world a lesson – there’s always a way and there’s always hope, as there’s life.
Diline Abushaban, 14/Sep/2020
Picture by Mahmoud Ajjour
What is this a photograph of?
People use this item for different purposes. It is designed as a glasses case and was made over 16 years ago by the Melkite group in Ramallah and I bought it as a beginner volunteer at Hadeel when we opened in 2003.
It means a lot to me and I use it every day as a carrying case for my Wakesa.
This was given to me when I formally became a Buddhist and took the Precepts, which are a bit like the Commandments but understood as being from the deepest wish of our own heart. To cease from evil and do only good. Also to remember that we are part of a bigger tapestry than we can know.
Every morning I use it to remind me of this wish as I start the day.
If I am travelling anywhere it goes with me.
When events are happening that are difficult to understand or more needless suffering is happening in Palestine or any of the other troubled places in our world, I do my best to bring my mind back to that sincere wish and to remember that however dark things seem, they will change.
This case has gone with me to visit the groups in Palestine, to visit my parents as they were ageing and becoming more dependent on others, to family holidays, though all the changes ,joys and sorrows of the last 17 years.
Over the years the top side colours have become softer and gentler while the side usually face down has kept that vividness of its original nature. That seems to point to something about the way we ourselves age and hopefully soften in our dealings with inner and outer circumstances.
I treasure this case and all that it means to me .
Recollections of Peter Macdonald
It all began sometime in the autumn of 2002, when a group of volunteers had a large craft stall in the entrance of St. George’s West Church in Shandwick Place, attracting customers who were leaving an event inside the church. The group inside had been on a study tour / pilgrimage to Israel/Palestine and were keen to support our stall and what we were doing. That evening they bought a 2-3 hundred pounds’ worth of very beautiful embroidery.
At the same time, St. George’s West had been undergoing extensive renovations during which the room which had been the kitchen became available for other use. Peter Macdonald, the minister there, came out of the sanctuary and when he saw us, commented something like, “You’re a shop without a room and we’ve got a room without a shop!”. As we had been thinking about the possibility of opening a shop, negotiations began between what then was just a voluntary group marketing Palestinian handcrafts and a prominent church in the West End of Edinburgh.
Subsequently, in January of 2003 two companies were formed, one a charity, one a trading subsidiary. By March of 2003 Palcrafts/Hadeel volunteers had renovated the room and beautifully displayed it and opened for business.
Of course, there was a need for directors for the two companies which were formed. Peter was one from 2003 until he resigned at the AGM in 2009. It wasn’t until he had ceased being Leader of the Iona Community that he was again able to have time and energy to support the companies once more as a director.
– Carol Morton
Peter and I were elected to the Palcrafts Council – the body that oversees Hadeel – at the same AGM in 2017. I didn’t know Peter well before then; however it quickly became evident that he had a grasp of what needed done to help make the organisation function well.
On his suggestion we appointed a consultant, Wendy Ball, to assist is in reviewing our business model and working practices. Peter himself was a member of the Transition Group, which brought recommended changes to the Council for decision. So it’s largely thanks to Peter that we are where we now are at Hadeel, with Khaled as manager and Arely as assistant. When he was “between jobs” he even assisted some days each week in the shop. It was no surprise when Peter was elected chairperson of the Council in 2018. His passion for justice in the world is wide-ranging, with a particular focus on the situation of the Palestinian people. Personally, I was looking forward enormously to the study tour in the spring, which he was helping to organise. It would have been an opportunity to spend time, have fun and learn together.
Each of us will miss him enormously at a personal level; we at Hadeel will miss his enthusiasm and leadership more than we can say.
I have only known Peter for 3 years, but I feel as if I have known him for the whole of my life. His warm welcome and hospitality, his knowledge and wisdom shine through his conversation capturing his guests and audience.
I was impressed with his knowledge of Palestine and his support not only for the Palestinians but to causes of injustice wherever they were. His untimely and sudden departure will leave a huge void the lives of all who knew him. My thoughts and heart go to his family and my prayers go to his soul. We will miss Peter for many years to come.
Lakiya Negev Weaving, “Sidreh”: THE HOME OF THE WEAVING MADE WITH A PERFECTED TECHNIQUE
Founded in 1991, the Lakiya Negev Weaving Initiative empowers Bedouin women of the Negev on personal and economic levels by applying their specialized weaving skills to produce unique woven products for local and international markets.
The Bedouin weavers use the traditional, homemade ground looms of their culture to craft the distinctive products. They use the pure wool of Awasi sheep, sheared by local Bedouin shepherds, and spin it into thread. These authentic artisan products are renowned both for their beauty and durability. This tradition is a strong part of communal life, and it has strong roots in the unique Bedouin cultural-heritage.
The Lakiya Weaving Initiative is Sidreh’s flagship project, and a successfully locally based social enterprise managed by Bedouin women – so we are truly part of the community we serve.
. Working in homesteads near the village of Lakiya more than 38 (formerly 150) craftswomen continue centuries of tradition, passed from mother to daughter, by herding, spinning, dyeing and weaving pure Awassi sheep wool.
Using drop spindles and ground looms they produce quality items which are durable, dye fast and mothproof. Lakiya is now a part of the work done by Al Sidreh, which has adult literacy and other programmes empowering women in the Bedouin community, particularly those in unrecognized villages.
We last visited Lakiya in 2016 and had lunch at the desert home of a woman participating in the income generating program. Hadeel normally stocks small rugs and cushions, but can order larger items for customers.
Sindyanna of Galilee, run entirely by Arab and Jewish women, joined the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) in 2003. Established in 1996, it aims to advance the Arab economy in Israel and to help preserve the land.
Olives have been the mainstay of Arab farmers for centuries. Israeli authorities discourage sales of Arab-grown olive oil and since 1948 have confiscated over 70% of Arab-owned land. Oil which cannot be used for food is made into soap which is made by traditional methods in Nablus, then cleaned, packed and exported by Sindyanna.
As well as the original soap, other varieties are now stocked – honey, pomegranate, lemon, sage, Dead Sea mud. Za’atar is sourced from Palestinian farmers in the Jericho area. Traditional baskets are made in a women’s project with a new centre with modern shop in Cana. Recently they began a cookery project for Arab women, hoping new skills will enable them to find work in catering.
In 2012 our study tour visited the centre and the Scots Olive Grove being developed in partnership with the Church of Scotland. www.sindyanna.com
Melkite Palestinian Embroidery Workshop, Ramallah:
The Melkite Pastoral Center was established in 1988 during the first Intifada (Palestinian uprising) in the city of Ramallah by the sisters of Greek Catholic (Melkite) Church Center. The center gives income-generation opportunities through sewing and embroidery work to more than 180 women from 17 villages and 2 refugee camps in the central West Bank.
The Center also organizes social activities for women, such as the Mother’s Day celebration, and lectures on women’s issues, and arranges homemade Palestinian dishes cooked by the embroiderers for tour groups visiting the city.
The Melkite Church provides facilities where women obtain fabric and thread, which they take home to embroider, in exchange for wages. The products are inspired by traditional designs that decorate Palestinian women’s dresses, and symbolically represent the hills, trees, and flowers of the country.
Due to low sales, women occasionally have been sent home with no work. There are “. . . continuing hard economic conditions and travel restrictions. The wall affects areas where some workers live; we have very limited access to Jerusalem where there are foreign tourists.”
The Workshop’s products are among Hadeel’s most popular – purses, bags, hangings and cushion covers. In 2008 Palcrafts gave them a grant to travel to Dubai to secure orders, and in 2012 gave a grant to help them publish a new catalogue. A grant from Palcrafts in 2015 enabled them to purchase a printer/fax/scanner so they can improve their promotion of products.
Haneen Project, Nablus –
The Haneen Project is an initiative established in 2007 in Balata refugee camp in the Nablus area in the northern West Bank, as a result of Sunbula’s product development training activities. A group of women who received the training formed an independent income-generating project in order to utilize their newly-acquired skills for handicraft production. Haneen means ‘longing’ in Arabic, and it symbolizes the refugees’ longing for their ancestral homeland and cultural heritage.
Balata is the largest of the 19 Palestinian refugee camps in the occupied West Bank. The camp’s 22,000 inhabitants suffer from overcrowded living conditions, poor infrastructure, poverty, and conflict-related violence. Haneen Project is a response to meet the economic needs of families, who strive to put food on the table, educate their children, and care for their sick and elderly. Haneen’s products boast distinct beauty.
Their skilled embroiderers stitch with wide ranging techniques in addition to the common cross-stitching, and use unique regional and local materials, such as Syrian satin or leather from Heborn, in their designs.
Experimenting with ancient designs and techniques, Haneen is producing items not made in other groups. Hadeel stocks a few, mainly cushion covers. Because of their isolated position, Haneen is quite dependent on Sunbula; it is difficult for others to buy directly and send the money
Canaan Fair Trade: Canaan sells Fair Trade and organic olive oil, almonds, za’atar, freekeh and maftoul produced by over 2,000 small farmers organized in informal cooperatives.
Their partner is Palestinian Fair Trade Organisation, founded in 2004, the largest FT producer group in the Middle East! Zaytoun exists “for the rural communities to sustain their livelihoods, farming traditions, ancient trees and millennia-old permaculture and ecosystem.”
Their projects include empowering women, Clean Palestine, micro-loans, and Trees for Life. Hadeel stocks many sizes and qualities of oil; including the first olive oil ever to be granted a Fair Trade certification, facilitated by our long-term partner in the UK, Zaytoun, www.zaytoun.org. www.canaanpalestine.com.
Hirbawi Textile factory in Hebron has become famous as the last Palestinian factory making kufiyas, as cheap ones from China have flooded the market decimating local businesses. Ten people are employed in the factory which through Hadeel supplies The New Internationalist and Amnesty catalogue.
Inside the factory, fifteen industrial looms (both working and non-working) fill half of the florescent-lit warehouse. The working machines thump in constant motion, creating an insistent roar inside the building. The factory now runs only half the machines because sales have been in steady decline since the 1990s.
The factory was started over 60 years ago by Yassar Hirbawi, and is now run by his three sons and a family friend. He says Kufiya is more popular than ever in Palestine. During the first Intifada, many avoided wearing it for fear of being arrested. But now, Kufiya is worn as a symbol of Palestinian culture and heritage. He adds: “It’s our past, future…It means everything”.
The traditional Palestinian kufiya is this black-and-white pattern, which makes up over 70 percent of the factory’s sales. The black-and-white kufiya is often referred to as the unofficial Palestinian flag, and carries deep meaning for many who wear it. There are numerous stories about the origin of the kufiya’s pattern. It is said to represent a fishing net, a honeycomb, the joining of hands, or the marks of dirt and sweat wiped off a worker’s brow, among other things.
Our study tour visited Hirbawi Textile in June, 2012.
Idna Ladies’ Association: Started in 1998, this group is located in the village of Idna, southwest of Hebron. The village is quite isolated and suffers not only from frequent Israeli blockades of major roads, but also from the construction of the Separation Wall.
Embroidery is done by 50 women, 4 do the sewing and there are 4 paid staff at the centre. The Association has a savings scheme allowing any member to borrow money for a particularly pressing need. Benefiting from the help of a Japanese designer and sewing instructor, the products evince highest quality in design, embroidery and sewing. Shoulder bags and backpacks are very popular, and their unique thistle design coasters were designed by Joan Musgrave for the Scottish market.
The women learned skills in product design, sewing, quality control, inventory, and financial management, in order to provide a much-needed income-generation opportunity to the village women.
Today, the Association has grown from a humble room to a workshop equipped with machineries and worktables. Many of the women are the family breadwinners that made possible for their daughters to receive college education, an opportunity that was not afforded to themselves.
Idna’s products are known for incorporating the beauty of Palestinian embroidery in modernday, pratical items, like backpacks, tote bags, and coin purses. They are made with impeccable sewing and embroidery skills that women have honed over years.
A Palcrafts grant in 2007 enabled 3 women to study English and acquire computer skills but this is a very proud, independent group of women who have not asked for other grants.
Ma’an lil-Hayat (Together for Life), Bethlehem, with a new branch in the village of Dar Salah near Bethlehem, is the first and only wool-felting project in Palestine.
Founded in August 2009, people with and without intellectual disabilities make felted-wool ornaments, nativity sets, and other gift items. Raw wool is purchased from local shepherds (benefiting the local economy) and the whole process of cleaning, carding, dyeing, felting and drying is done by members.
A project of the International Federation of L’Arche Communities, Ma’an lil-Hayat, with 23 producers, “is a place where we discover and share our gifts through relationships of friendship and trust.” Workers are given a weekly stipend, experiencing the joy of earning money through working. Maha Ghareeb, director, and Suha, a speech therapist, came to Scotland in 2011. Hadeel has funded 2 electric carding machines for Ma’an, who are now in new premises. They have succeeded in getting donations for a new more industrial size electric carding machine so that the carded wool now is better quality and the work much quicker.
Lifegate Rehabilitation Centre, Beit Jala: Lifegate is an organisation with Palestinian and German staff, whose goal is to help the Gate of Life stay open for people with impairments, whether physical or mental. Lifegate conducts a thorough assessment of each child’s needs with examinations by both Israeli and Palestinian doctors. A well-equipped new building opened in 2013 enables many staff to do diagnostics, medical care, physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy and special education for 30 disabled people.
There are sheltered workshops and the first special school on the West Bank for children with special needs. Workers receive payments for products they make but this is not a large part of Lifegate’s mission. Carpentry, blacksmith, shoe repair, tailoring, knitting and traditional crafts are taught and sometimes lead to the person returning with skills to his/her home.
Lifegate have received several grants from Palcrafts, the latest in 2016 for the purchase of a computer to use with disabled children in their kindergarten and school. www.lifegate-reha.de
Oasis Workshop for People with Special Needs, Beit Sahour
The Oasis Center, which is one of the development centers of HWC, was established in 1998. The center aims at integrating persons with mild and moderate disabilities in society through training them on vocational skills congruent to their abilities. This is because the center aims at increasing their self-confidence and independence. The center has contributed to the changing on the negative attitudes towards this segment of the society. In addition to increasing the awareness of members of the society about their abilities by promoting them as active and productive segment of the society if it has been provided with the suitable opportunity. This has been accomplished through organizing awareness activities in cooperation with the different local organizations including schools and universities.
Oasis Center believes that everyone has value, talent and a social role – whether with mental disabilities or not – to make it possible for them to contribute to society by creating an appropriate environment for each social group according to the circumstances and peculiarities. For this, the center works to give workers an opportunity to integrate into the community and the development of their spirits as part of the family in particular ad society general.
The center has increased the active relationships between members of the center and their families through organizing periodical meetings with the member’s parents and awareness raising workshops for them. This is to enhance the connection between the center and the member’s families and increasing their awareness on how to interact with people with disabilities. The center was able to increase the number of its members from 16 to 19, who are with mild and moderate disabilities through its successful relationship with institutions working with people with disabilities. At the professional level, one of the most significant activities of the center is organizing quality activities included the integration of people with disabilities in the society through establishing professional relationships with the local organizations of interest including Children’s Village in Bethlehem, Saint Joseph School and the Catholic School. Additionally, a new product line of fabric art was developed in cooperation with Sunbula organization in Jerusalem. Through this production line, the center has participated in the annual Sunbula Bazar. The demand for product of the Oasis was of significant this year compared with 201 3 as the products displayed matched market demand at the time.
It is worth noting that Beit Sahour municipality bought a value of NIS 15,000 products from the center, including 100 greeting cards which were distributed to official institutions and councils in celebration of the New Year, and 550 decorated ceramic plates distributed during celebration for the elderly in Beit Sahour. These accomplishments are as a result of efforts that have been made to market for the products through the organization of integration activities and galleries, which the center has participated at. In 2014, the Oasis center actively participated in the network of institutions representing people with disabilities in Bethlehem. The center has participated in all of the network’s activities and annual meetings. The center has strengthened its relationship with local organizations and connection through its membership in the network resulting in the provision of different services professionally with focus on the rights of people with disabilities.
Women’s Child Care Society, Beit Jala
The Women’s Child Care Society (WCCS) was established in 1944 in the town of Beit Jala near Bethlehem in the central West Bank. In 1948, the villagers organized two first-aid centers and lunch programs to help the casualties of the 1948 war and the refugees pouring into Bethlehem. Over the last five decades, WCCS has grown to serve increasing needs of the community, and today operates a cafeteria, activities for senior citizens, youth summer camps, low-cost housing, and income generation through food and handicrafts production.
WCCS is among the few embroidery groups that have preserved the Tahriri, couching stitch embroidery that is unique to the Bethlehem area. The Society has trained 15 women from Tequa’, the village south of Bethlehem, on this complex stitching technique where gold and silver chords are twisted into vividly colored threads. It takes six months of training for a woman to become skilled in this special technique. WCCS currently provides embroidery work for 50 women from 10 villages in the area. The women take fabric and threads home to work while running their households, bring the finished pieces back for payment, and seamstresses sew them up to finished products. Their products include gorgeously embellished evening bags and home decors.
Surif Women’s Cooperative
The village of Surif (pop. 15,000) is located alongside the Green Line (1949 Armistice Line separating West Bank and Israel), in a beautiful hilly region between Bethlehem and Hebron. About a half of the village population is refugees from the 1948 war, who fled their homeland that later became a part of the State of Israel.
In 1950, a group of Mennonite volunteers came to the village to establish the Palestinian Needlework Program, in order to give the refugee women an opportunity to supplement their family income and to enhance their own self-reliance through empowerment. In 1979, the village women took over the responsibilities to run the project, which, after a period of intensive training, was reborn as Surif Women’s Cooperative, in 1983.
Surif’s Women’s Cooperative is known for their distinct style, using cream-colored ‘mansouri’ cotton fabric instead of the popular ‘eitamin’ cross-stitch canvas. The embroidery patterns are produced by a system of counting threads, a method that gives the embroidery its striking and exact appearance on both sides of the fabric. Surif’s designs are adapted from traditional Palestinian dresses and reflect the heritage from different regions of Palestine.
Surif Women’s Cooperative
Surif, Hebron District, West Bank
Al Zaytouna Jewelry was founded in Bethlehem in 2005 by a talented artist Nadira Al Araj. Nadira’s enthusiasm and passion for ancient crafts and art work especially custom-made jewelry lead her into learning this ancient art and craft of individual casting of olive leaves and molding them into unique pieces of sterling silver jewelry.
Nadira joined forces with Towfic Kattan, the last remaining traditional silversmith in Bethlehem in establishing Zaytouna Jewelry to preserve and spread this traditional art for future generation. Towfic operates from a small studio in the center of the old town and specializes in hand made traditional styles of jewelry. Towfic has passed his knowledge and expertise to his son Samer who has joined this joint venture.
Zaytouna Jewelry team create original designs by transforming handpicked olive leaves from the Holy Land into unique, one of a kind sterling silver pieces. Each handmade piece is a replica of an actual olive leaf from trees in the hills around Jerusalem that date back over 2,000 years. The highest quality recycled sterling silver is always used and this is produced by a family-run refinery in the Holy Land.
Bethlehem Committee for Rehabilitation and Development: BAWU helped to start this family-run workshop with small business funding assistance. BCRD produces sterling silver items, which are mostly religious.
The workshop has suffered severe damage from IDF operations. Additionally, the family was out of their home for 40 days and everything was stolen. At one point, they had no work for 42 months. They received a 2012 grant from Palcrafts for new machinery which has alleviated health and safety risks in the workshop.
Like other local businesses and artisans, the lack of tourism severely affects their sales.
Bethlehem Arab Women’s Union:
The Arab Women’s Union in Bethlehem is a non-profit charitable, social and cultural society, founded in 1947 in Bethlehem. Its first mission was to support needy Palestinian women by providing them jobs that allowed them to have a decent life. The Union aims to promote and support local handicrafts, together with Palestinian Folklore and culinary tradition, offering help to needy women and children. The society, which leads numerous activities and cultural centers, manages an Embroidery Centre, started in 1968 with the goal of providing work for disadvantaged women and to preserve traditional embroidery skills, an integral part of Bethlehem culture and heritage. The embroidery patterns are drawn from the ornate designs of traditional dress, and are adapted to modern items as pillows, wallets, purses and accessories.
The women who embroider are trained at the Center and receive the raw materials, as threads and canvas, to work at home. This enables them to balance work alongside care of their families and homes, empowering them inside and outside their families.
Most of our beautiful runners and mats are made by 100 women working at home, bringing the work to be washed and finished at BAWU by 2 staff working there. Formed to cope with medical emergencies during the invasion of 1947, it now promotes Palestinian food, arts and crafts, marketing items with strict quality control ensuring sustainable development.
They aim to provide work opportunities for poor people in the Bethlehem area. Lack of tourism has resulted in a severe drop in sales and marketing is severely limited as travel permits to Jerusalem are rarely given. BAWU maintains a Folklore Museum. Their charitable work is very diminished through lack of donations; however, like other Palestinians, the women involved prefer work to charity: “When you give work to people you give them life and courage and produce peace.”
A Palcrafts grant in 2006 was used for a fax machine, sewing machine and product labels. In 2016 our grant gave them a computer and professional printer.
Sulafa Embroidery Project of UNRWA –
A household name in Gaza for quality embroidery, supports approximately 250 local artisans by commissioning traditional and contemporary embroidered goods. The purchase of a Sulafa product allows these women to support their families, which often rely on only one source of income.
By ensuring that women can work from home, Sulafa allows women to balance with their home responsibilities and secure income to support a better life for their children.
Sulafa is more than a way for women to earn a living. It is also a way to preserve the traditions and culture of embroidery within the Palestinian society and pass these essential skills from generation to the next. Stories depicting life in Palestinian villages and communities are conserved in dresses, scarves, pillows and many other garments, making embroidery a way to tell and remember Palestinian heritage.
(United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) provides meaningful and sustainable income for women, giving them access to the local and international market. 1.8 million Palestinians live in Gaza; about 70% are refugees with 80% dependent on international aid. With the current high local poverty level and blockade of Gaza, sales have declined, but they still provide income for 300 women’s households. Sulafa ensures that a traditional art form is kept alive as part of Palestinian cultural identity.
Palcrafts hosted Hind El-Arabi, then UNRWA Women’s Programme Officer in Gaza, during Fair Trade Fortnight 2010. In Nov. 2015 UNRWA’s Commissioner General said about Palestinian refugees, There is a deep sense of despair and insecurity . . . their vulnerability and isolation is . . . reaching levels not seen in generations. In the same year Palcrafts donated £2000 for table lamps with rechargeable batteries so women can work at home, and children can study after dark. Sulafa are now trying to concentrate on social media and the export market; they were finalists in the “Excellence in Community Impact” category at a Folk Art Market in the States. www.unrwa.org
The traces of Gloria Investments’ journey are rooted in the early 1970’s, when Issa J Musleh, alongside his father, worked day and night to improve his skills in carving small pieces of olive wood and exceled in the olive wood industry.
Many years thereafter, and with the mission to establish fair trade opportunities for all, Issa J Musleh decided to expand his work and founded Gloria Investments, providing the biggest wholesale and retail services within the industry.
Since 2008, Gloria Investments has been working and cooperating with approximately 65 olive wood workshops. These workshops belong majorly to Christian families in Bethlehem, Palestine- located east of Jerusalem. Stemming out of our aim to develop and strengthen the olive wood industry, and based on our morals and standards in supporting the local Christian community, Gloria Investments has expanded these workshops’ opportunities and increased fair trade initiatives by importing accessories for them at a fair price.
We at Gloria Investments strive to provide top services, fair trade, elite and customized products to clients all over the globe. With physical presence in North America and the Middle East (Holy Land), our customer service department works tirelessly to guarantee such quality services.
Located just a few meters away from the Shepherds’ Field in the heart of Beit Sahour, Palestine; the headquarters of Gloria Investments offers not only top quality services & products, but also a fantastic location to visit with breathtaking views to wonder. If you are shopping for (seasonal) hand-made authentic gifts, or looking for new business opportunities, Gloria Investments is your address. Either by visiting our location or browsing our website, we are happy to make your acquaintance and we welcome you to our business.
When trade becomes fair we have accomplished our goal!
All of the Bethlehem area is isolated by the Separation Wall and nearly surrounded by settlements. Gloria’s shop showcases work of artisans and encourages cooperation, maintaining the highest quality. Many artisans are in serious debt; although they receive what is considered locally a fair price for their work, like other Palestinian artisans, they have no health insurance or pensions.
The olive wood products are carved from wood that must be dried for at least a year before using. Traditionally the wood comes from the pruning the trees, ensuring environmental sustainability. Hadeel commissions new designs and is one of the few customers who pay for orders right away, enabling this group’s work to continue.
We also support “Keep Hope Alive”, an olive tree planting project coordinated in the area by the YMCA.
Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children, Gaza is a registered Palestinian NGO located in Gaza City, has been working in the field of persons with hearing disabilities education and allied services since 1992. Literally thousands of deaf children and adults and their families are served annually at Atfaluna through persons with hearing disabilities education, audiology, speech therapy, income generating programs for the deaf, vocational training, parents’, teachers’ and community training and awareness programs, and a host of other services and programs.
The organisation currently employs 134 permanent staff members of which 55% are deaf. Atfaluna’s services focus on serving persons with hearing disabilities in particular and the community in general. This focus comes in light of the inclusive development approach Atfaluna adopts to create an inclusive environment for persons with disabilities within an all-inclusive environment free of limitations.
Respect of human rights is a key component throughout the organisation. Atfaluna adopts the Convention of International Human Rights and International Laws as well as Palestinian laws in this regard. Due to this Atfaluna has developed several policies which guarantee equal rights for everyone and has worked on adopting it and publicizing it to organisations working in the field. It has also developed practical procedures to guarantee accomplishment and a comprehensive complaint system; among these policies are:
– Child protection policy
– Neutrality and non-discrimination policy
– Conflict of interest policy
– Anti-corruption policy
Atfaluna considers itself a learning organisation, it believes in the principle of change, it continuously works to modify its techniques and train its staff to keep up with changes and trends within the charity sector, administrative, financial, social, psychosocial, educational and vocational in line with world visions and keeping with the Palestinian setting.
The family environment at Atfaluna and close social bonds and high dedication and commitment which ties the Atfaluna staff together makes Atfaluna stand out as an exceptional model for the work of NGOs who continue to serve their communities regardless of difficulties and challenges.
Our grants to Atfaluna include: 2009 for some repair work after the bombing during “Operation Cast Lead” when almost all windows and frames were destroyed; 2014 contributing £2000 to a programme which enabled some of the artisans to obtain glasses much needed especially when working on black material; and in 2016, $3000 for materials for home workers. www.atfaluna.net
Ahdaf, (Arabic “goals”) based in Bethlehem, opened in 2010 by Mervat Jackaman who needed to find income after her husband became too ill to work. From a small workshop this family run business produces stained glass items.
Their recycled glass production also promotes women’s role in society and promotes Palestinian handcrafts. They give 20% of their profits to St. Martha’s House, a day centre for elderly women whose message is “life is to be cherished at all stages, and it is possible to care for those who need it most even under the most adverse of conditions!”. They hope with donations to find a permanent home for St. Martha’s House.