When we talk about supporting 31 artisan and women's cooperatives, it seems like a big enough number. It sure feels like we're helping support a lot of artisans. But each artisan really has so many others who are part of their creative process, and they in turn sustain livelihoods as well.
Straps by Sarab, for example, is one of our artisans, but her project includes 11 other hands (plus hers!) contributing to her handicrafts. She buys traditional keffiyeh fabric fro Hirbawi factory in Hebron, where three men work, and the traditional kashmere material plus the filling from a fabric shop in Ramallah where two me work. She buys her clips from another vendor. Three women in the Amari Refugee Camp Women's Center sew the straps and she has a designer and printer who make the label. Plus she's expanded to making tatreez belts so there are five more hands involved in her process.
Zaytouna Jewelry involves two silversmiths and the designer herself. Amal Workshop includes 5 women. Nisf Jubeil ceramics is 5 women. You get the idea. In total, our 31 artisan and women's cooperatives include around 300 people.
The entire impetus for Handmade Palestine is to support artisans and raise money to plant trees in Palestine, so for our part being able to make a meaningful contribution to artisan livelihoods is front and center. That happens primarily by being able to regularly order handicrafts and pay fair wages. But it also happens through trainings, workshops, consultations and supporting them in other ways.
Small businesses in Palestine face unimaginable challenges. They can't open paypal accounts or use other gateways to accept online payments, shipping is exorbitant and insecure, supplies are unreliable and expensive at best, and services like instagram shopping forbidden to Palestine. The platform and marketing and all the other support we give our artisans is invaluable.
Please spend some time looking at the collections and the artisans and then do some shopping, knowing that (y)our impact in Palestinian artisans' lives is real. And you did that simply by shopping. Start here!
Thank you for persevering and creating beautiful products that represent the Palestinian culture. Continue to collaborate with each other and keep the Palestinian culture in the forefront of our minds.