Supporting Women in Palestine through Income Generation and Training

In November of 2023 we began thinking through ways we could respond to the exponentially increasing Israeli closures and incursions that really were detrimental to an already suffocated Palestinian economy. The creative economy is largely cottage industry here in Palestine, meaning its women working from their homes to generate income and sustain their households. They rely largely on traditional craft making skills and often their market is local souvenir shops and bazaars or markets that are for tourists. These women who were already creating and crafting as well as dozens and dozens of women who were previously working but found themselves desperately trying to generate income when their husbands lost permits and work opportunities due to the Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement were both reaching out to us for support.

We took a quite immediate decision to create a new group for women to work with us on our original tatreez designs. 

December 15, 2023. Enter Manjel ma Qoud, our new group. We hired an incredible woman named Abeer who has a deep passion for Palestinian tatreez, which she herself also practices. She began forming this group by spreading the word and posting in forums that we were hiring women to stitch from home. We just (finally!) got the first designs our our website here, and we are working now on coasters, shawls, cushion covers and more. We work with more than 20 women and have invested 15,000USD into this project already in 3 and a half months. We have put countless hours into the early mornings on research and design as well as worked extensively through trainings on quality control. 

This is our very small intervention to support more women in generating income but for us this is our very big intervention in improving the quality of tatreez produced in Palestine. Gaza was the main source for most brick and mortar as well as online shops selling handcrafted tatreez from Palestine. With the Israeli genocide in Gaza, all the workshops have been bombed and our artisans displaced or brutally murdered. It is well documented that the Israelis have actively and intentionally destroyed cultural heritage in Palestine and especially in Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023. Every workshop that hosted artisans we worked with has been bombed and as the obvious consequence of that destruction, the art and artifacts themselves have been destroyed as well. All life in Gaza is being destroyed. 

This amazing painting by Hiba Abu Nada, an artist in Gaza who was murdered with her son by the Israelis, captures the essence of this relationship between Palestinians and culture and land.

And while it feels secondary to speak of art and culture, this genocide is intent on erasing Palestinians from the Land as well as any claim they have on it. One of our core messages at Handmade Palestine is to insist that Palestinian cultural heritage is rooted in the Palestinian people's sacred and historic relationship to the land. So for us it is an act of resistance to document and preserve our cultural heritage that bears witness to the Palestinian relationship to and rootedness in this beautiful land.


This masterpiece is a collection of Palestinian stitches from different regions and celebrates traditional tatreez.

To this end, Manjel ma Qoud is actively working to document and highlight traditional stitches and to return to crafting the highest quality tatreez so that we can all together celebrate and bear witness to Palestinians' incredible cultural heritage.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

From Palestine to You