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.
Al Zaytouna is a business which originated in creative workshops at the International Centre, Bethlehem. Every piece in the beautifully handcrafted sterling silver jewellery collection, “Peace Next to your Heart”, is unique as it originates from a cast of a single Bethlehem olive leaf. Designer Nadira Al Araj and the Kattan family silversmiths have developed a collection where you will find that gift for a special occasion
Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children, Gaza was founded in 1992; its aim is empowering deaf youth in the Gaza strip and improving their quality of life through vocational training and job creation.
Thousands of deaf children and their families are served by Atfaluna (Arabic, our children) through deaf education, audiology, special therapy, income generating programmes and vocational training. Atfaluna Crafts, established in 1998 has 5 departments. It employs 51 mainly deaf people and provides essential income to more than 350 very needy people and their families through their work from home programme. Exporting goods remains a serious problem, as it can take months for Israel to allow a box of handcrafts to leave Gaza.
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
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A small jewellery-making project at this Society began in 2010 with help from Sunbula who engaged a designer, trained the women and purchased machinery and tables. Beit Doqu is close to Jerusalem but since 2004 has been totally cut off by the Israeli separation road system, with severe economic results.
Ten women work in the jewellery making project. BDDS provides many services in the community and has a food processing section where they sun-dry tomatoes and process other vegetables and herbs, helping local farmers.
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Bethlehem Arab Women’s Union: 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 in 1947 to cope with medical emergencies during the war, 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.
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.
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.
Gloria Enterprise, Beit Sahour coordinates the sales of olive wood and mother of pearl for 60 carvers working in small workshops.
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.
Haneen Project, Nablus – this project, developed in 2007 with the help of Sunbula, empowers women through the making of traditional handcrafts. Haneen -”longing” in Arabic, is located in Balata Refugee Camp, which has 22,000 inhabitants and is the largest of the 19 in the West Bank. Conditions are very difficult with overcrowding, poverty and violence.
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
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. Our study tour visited Hirbawi Textile in June, 2012.