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.