They meet together in their office space on the second floor of the municipal building in Tuqu’ and proudly open their doors to visitors. Around the room many different handcrafts are displayed. Among the various embroidered dresses, shirts, purses and pillows, a display of handwoven rugs catches your eye. The rugs are made by women who know the time-honored craft—usually it is the older women—who have first spun the thread on drop spindles and dyed it using colors obtained from native plants.
The nine board members of this cooperative are all volunteers; that is, the income generated by the sale of these handcrafts does not go to the cooperative, but to the individual women who made the items. The basic mission of the group is to provide opportunities for craftswomen to display and sell their work. The women also have a strong desire to keep the traditional crafts—such as rug weaving—alive by holding workshops where the older women teach the younger women the craft.
Since the offices are located in the municipal building, the women only have access during the times when the municipal offices are open. They would benefit and enjoy the opportunity to be in “their space” in the evenings or on weekends as well and are looking for ways to finance an outside staircase which would give them direct access at any time.
Across the hall is a kitchen which the women would like to make more usable for the production of Palestinian food specialties and meal preparation for school children. At this time, however, the kitchen is in need of a new oven, and industrial mixer, plumbing repair, and a variety of basic cooking pans and utensils.
One of the women board members shares how one day, just outside her house, she met six hikers who were hiking the Masar Ibrahim. She was delighted to meet them and invited them in for tea and something to eat—also a wonderful surprise for the hikers: all enjoyed their time together!
The Masar Ibrahim makes possible such encounters and times of exchange between women in local communities and visitors to Palestine—everyone benefits!
Head Woman: Alia Shaer
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