2023 in Review: What We Did for Palestine Together

In 2012, my husband and I committed to buying land at the edge of Ramallah to build an arboretum for our community. We were ready to start our little family and decided we wanted our future kids, their friends, and all the kids in Palestine, to have a special space to celebrate enjoy, and learn about natural heritage and conservation in Palestine. And so it all began...

We bought the land and called it Mashjar Juthour — meaning a place of trees and roots, both cultural and literal. But there was no funding for a nonprofit working on nature at that time, so we had the idea to put a little display in our cafe and began selling women's handicrafts in Ramallah. The next year I opened my first website and sold 3,000 dollars. I danced with joy and pride. Fast forward to today.
My husband has lost his patience with me more than once this year as I continue to be a full-time volunteer trying to build Handmade Palestine. He complains that we also need an income and Handmade Palestine only sustains the artisans' livelihoods, not our own.. Last year was the first year we ever raised a profit to donate to Mashjar Juthour for tree planting and conservation work. And really he's right...our kids have to eat too. But I am no business woman, and really just wanted to do good in my own little way, so it took Handmade Palestine longer perhaps to grow and succeed (by which I mean finally achieving its original mission of raising money for nature work in Palestine). 

With that in mind, I want to tell you all family who is supporting us with orders patience and solidarity and so many kind words — that in 2023 this is what we managed TOGETHER:

We supported 39 partner artisan groups and cooperatives, meaning they were able to rely on regular orders and income from us throughout the year. That's around 350 individuals.

We also contributed through our Ramadan Gift Boxes, 12,000 USD into the local economy, largely the Old City of Nablus!
We had an incredible 102 olive trees adopted which meant we donated around 30,000 USD to Mashjar Juthour (this is huge because with no international volunteers they had to hire local help to harvest and care for trees and really needed this support badly).

I won a subgrant from Creact4Med as a creative entrepreneur and participated in their summer school, which allowed me to work through a strategic plan and build capacity for Handmade Palestine and 5 new artisan groups!

We raised 8,000 USD for Atfaluna Deaf Society in Gaza during the month of October which we invited them to use in whatever way felt most urgent.

We moved out of my mom's spare bedroom and into a proper fulfillment space, that (thank God for the timing) allowed us to slowly manage the incredible support that flooded in since October.

One of our core values is fair trade and that means transparency, so I want to share with you what you allowed us to achieve! And truly these numbers amaze me.

We processed over 6,000 orders (that is more than all 8 years of our history combined!), had almost 600k online store sessions with a returning customer rate going from 28% to 16% because so many new folks found us. And lastly guys, I really cannot even comprehend how you made this possible...our site processed over a half million dollars in donations, sales, tips and shipping. A HALF MILLION DOLLARS people! 

I always say this is my little project to make a big impact. It truly has made a HUGE impact thanks to you. In mid October I had panicked calls from artisans fearing they would have no way to generate income during the holidays with all the crafts sales in Palestine canceled and tourism halted. Well we did it! We provided a sustained income for dozens and dozens of artisan groups in Palestine!

ALL BECAUSE OF YOU! So truly people, thank you for your support, your love, your solidarity and the positivity you have effected on the ground in beautiful Palestine.

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