Sulafa Embroidery Project of UNRWA, (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