Meet Sarab: The story of moving back from the States to Palestine and starting a handmade business

First the moving part!

Growing up in the States as a Palestinian-American, I never felt a strong connection to my Palestinian heritage.  I remember visiting the homeland with my family but was too young to fully comprehend the importance of our roots and the frustrations of the Palestinian people.  

When my husband and I decided to move to Ramallah from the States, I didn't know what to expect.  Especially since we moved during a time when Gaza was under attack.  I felt it wasn't stable or secure to raise our family here. 

Ramallah City - Al Manara Square (photo courtesy of

Falling in love with Ramallah! 

 Like any big move, it was a tough transition, but one I never knew I needed.  It pushed me out of my comfort zone and see first hand the difficulties Palestinians face daily but most importantly, how resilient they were to these challenges.  

As a yoga instructor here, I often implement these same teachings in our practice encouraging students to embrace the challenges on their mats to find that inner strength.  I realized as Palestinians were coming to me to seek inner peace, I needed them just as much to find that same peace off the mat.  

Walking in Ramallah, carrying my yoga mat on my back– I remember walking side-by-side an older Palestinian women wearing the traditional thobe with her kashmere and I knew I had to incorporate that same belt into my lifestyle.  To me, it wasn’t just any belt. It embodied beauty, strength, wisdom, pride, history – and inspired me to start Straps by Sarab.

Straps by Sarab - Sarab working with women from Al Amari Refugee camp

Starting my handmade business

I slowly began to put myself out there as a “yogapreneur.” With every step forward, it provided opportunities to meet so many hard-working Palestinians, each with their own inspirational story of overcoming the obstacles of life under occupation. To me – they were my heroes and a reason why I wanted to keep my business completely Palestinian.  

I got involved with the Women’s Program Center based in the Amari Refugee Camp where they create Straps by Sarab – making it a fair trade business creating opportunities in marginalized  communities and empowering women to use their skills in preserving traditional Palestinian crafts.  

As a Palestinian-American, raising three kids, teaching yoga and starting my small business in Ramallah– I felt my two worlds fuse together finding my purpose and discovering my true, authentic self. 

It was a move I never thought I'd make but one I'll forever be grateful for.

You can support Sarab's social project by buying her yoga mat straps. Sale proceeds go to supporting Mashjar Juthour's activities of Planting trees in Ramallah.

1 comment

This is amazing!! Congratulations Sarab!!!

Mimi I March 02, 2020

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