July 16, 2013
By Women's Voices Now
Towards the end of the Second Intifada in 2005, Women in Hebron was born as a means to both help women in the Hebron District access resources to support themselves and their families, and also to allow them a space to gather and support one another through the creation of handicrafts.
Today, with the guidance and perseverance of founder and director Nawal Slemiah, Women in Hebron is a Palestinian nonprofit fair trade cooperative comprised of 120 women from eight cities and villages across Hebron District who participate in creating beautiful handicrafts that represent their culture and their commitment to the survival of their community.
The proceeds from the sales of their handicrafts provide the artisan women and their families with additional income that could not be otherwise obtained through part-time employment. Women in Hebron’s storefront is located in the the occupied H2 sector of Hebron’s Old City, and the cooperative’s headquarters are located in Idna, a mid-sized Palestinian city of nearly 25,000 people located about ten minutes from Hebron in the West Bank. Women in Hebron operates under the Idna Cooperative Associate for Embroidery and Handicrafts, and through this association, Women and Hebron has been able to utilize a small community center where association members can gather to do their work together, take part in educational programs, and have social gatherings in Idna.
The hands of one of the female members of the cooperative demonstrate Palestinian needle-point to a few Tel Aviv University students.
Lunch prepared by the amazing women at the Women in Hebron Cooperative, Hebron.
Cooperative members teach Tel Aviv University students to make delicious stuffed grape leaves and zucchini for dinner.
Women in Hebron member Haneen along with Tel Aviv University students walk to a wedding in Idna wearing woven thobes by the Women in Hebron Cooperative.
The son of one of Women in Hebron’s female volunteers looks over the valley of Idna on the way to a wedding.
One of the new sewing machines with a cup of coffee.
The work of one of the women left on her work table.
With the recent donation of money from the British Consulate of East Jerusalem, Women in Hebron were able to purchase sewing machines and one fabric surger to finish the garments and art work they produce. One member of the cooperative shows other women how to use the newly-purchased used sewing machines to create patchwork pillows from pieces of hand-embroidered remains of Palestinian thobes.