There are Beautiful Things in Palestine
The movement to overcome poverty is far larger and more diverse than any one organization. Among the partners we are honored to count as friends are Aseela Women’s Cooperative, which is part of Sunbula, a nonprofit founded in 1996 that is Palestine’s leading Fair Trade organization.
Aseela was created in 2004 to address the economic needs of families living in refugee camps in the Bethlehem area. “We wanted an income-generating project that will help the families and at the same time promote the products that are unique to our heritage,” Wafa Khatib told us. “We have 15 members in our cooperative, and another 7 women who benefit from the embroidery work. All these women come from very poor families in the camp (mainly Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem) and have no other opportunity for earning income.”
Over the past few years, their situation has only grown more insecure. With the economic crisis in Europe, crucial financial support for Sunbula has been cut. Sunbula works specifically with women, refugees, villagers, people with disabilities, and Bedouins, and with its future in doubt the future of Aseela and the other 18 groups which form part of the network is also unclear.
These cooperatives do wonderful work creating beautiful products that go far to show aspects of Palestinian culture that deserve to be better known.