Hand embroidered by Surif Women’s Cooperative. Surif, a village near Hebron, is one of the most isolated groups. Started in 1950 by the Mennonite Central Committee, Surif Women’s Cooperative became a co-op in 1983. Due to lack of sales, the co-op currently gives little work to only about 150 of the 400 women members. Five staff work part-time at the centre but are paid only if there are sales. The embroidered work is incredibly precise, done on 100% cotton material woven in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Marketing finished items from Surif is now impossible without outside help. Communication is difficult: the group has no email and roadblocks add to the costs of both materials and transport. Electricity, telephones, and water are frequently cut off, and the Separation Wall runs very close to Surif village. These dire circumstances have left the co-op in debt and struggling to survive.