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Products for Everyday People
Our products can be appreciated for their everyday functionality, and for their beauty as handmade Palestinian crafts. Rather than ethnographic museum pieces frozen in a particular place or time, Palestinian handicrafts have always been useful items with character. We have many unique items that honor our national identity and character; we like to develop products that reflect our culture and heritage, while also adapting our products, so that people from around the globe can appreciate our work within their own lives.
Fair Trade Practices
Our handicrafts are our effort to provide meaningful items from our community to people across the world who enjoy having something that is both useful as well as a symbol of the Palestinian people. In creating our handicrafts, we hope to raise awareness of Palestine while providing income for Palestinian families.
As part of this effort, we base our prices on the value of the materials and a reasonable wage that reflects a sustainable living in Palestinian Hebronite communities. Keeping prices at an affordable cost for our customers is important, but developing sustainable product lines that can provide gainful employment is our first concern. Selling products at too low of a cost is not fair to the women of our cooperative, and negatively impacts other cooperatives and fair-trade artisans’ livelihoods, as well.
A modest percentage of sales for each item sold goes towards operational costs for both our products and the Idna Women’s Cooperative. This is done in part to reduce donor dependency from international aid organizations that we believe has negatively impacted Palestinian society.
Whenever and wherever possible, we buy as much materials and use as many services as we can from Hebron-district vendors to help support our local economy.
Supporting Other Palestinian Handicrafts
There are many different nonprofit cooperatives selling handicrafts made in Palestine as well as many other private tradespersons who are developing quality products. We encourage our customers to support other nonprofits, fair trade centers and professional artisans by purchasing from others working to promote quality goods in Palestine!
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Women in Hebron is a Palestinian nonprofit fair trade cooperative under the Idna Cooperative Association for Embroidery and Handicrafts. Idna is a mid-sized Palestinian city of around 25,000 people, located to the southwest of Hebron in the West Bank.
Women in Hebron was established as part of the cooperative association’s efforts to provide women in Hebron district the resources to provide for themselves and their families through the production and sales of Palestinian handicraft items. Our work began in 2005, when our founder and director, Nawal Slemiah, began selling items in the Old City souq (market) of Hebron in the occupied H2 sector, a short distance from the Ibrahimi Mosque. Since 2005, Women in Hebron has grown from a small table along the main thoroughfare of the market to a permanent fixture in the Old City. As a result of our handicraft sales through Women in Hebron, The Idna Cooperative Association has been able to open a small community center in the village of Idna, where members of the association can gather together to do their work, take part in educational programs, and socialize with their peers.
The one hundred and fifty women who produce the items that are sold come from across Hebron district from eight cities and villages. The proceeds from sales provide themselves and their families with additional income that could not otherwise be obtained through part-time employment.
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.
Women In Hebron: Our Story
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