These Palestinian Women Have Found Their Own Way To Take Care Of Themselves

This is a story about female empowerment through the use of traditional skills in the face of occupation.

 

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This is a story about the amazing women behind Women in Hebron. Women in Hebron is a Palestinian nonprofit fair trade cooperative that helps women in the Hebron district gain access to the resources needed to provide for themselves and their families through the production and sales of Palestinian handicraft items.

It is an organization by Palestinian women, for Palestinian women.

Women in Hebron began its journey in 2005 when Nawal Slemiah began selling her handmade items in Hebron’s markets. This eventually resulted in her founding and directing Women in Hebron as the group of women grew from a handful to 120 today. These Palestinian women come from all across the Hebron district, from various cities and villages, and make handmade items to sell with other women at the market in Hebron. They make kuffiyehs (traditional Palestinian scarves), bookmarks, purses, wallets, and shawls, all traditionally embroidered in Palestinian motifs. Proceeds from sale of these products offer the women and their families with additional income.

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Sewing, embroidering, and selling together also strengthens bonds between these women, creating a stronger Palestinian women collective solidarity in the district. These women trust each other, create together, get to know each other’s histories in ways they might have not been able to before. In their own words, “Our work is based on the idea that developing Palestinian handicrafts is more than just an income-generating project. It is in of itself an act of community-strengthening, of honoring the role of women in our society, and a means to show sumud – steadfastness – in the face of the occupation of Palestine and the harm it has done to the people of Hebron.”

Do yourself a favor, check out their website. Support Fair Trade and Palestinian handicrafts.

 

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Written by Sara Halimah

Sara Halimah

Sara is a student at the University of Minnesota, studying Global Studies and Anthropology. She enjoys readings that challenge assumptions, good pens to take notes with, and snacks for the discussion along the way . Reading Suggestion: Palestinian Women by Fatma Kassem