Handmade Palestine

Handmade Palestine is an initiative that supports local Palestinian artisans to sell their handicrafts through bazars and the online webshop.

They support 25 Palestinian artisans, mainly women and women cooperatives. Each one of them has their own stories to the products.

In the month of November 2021 Handmade Palestine is running a crowdfunding campaign to have more budget for marketing so they can reach out to a larger audience.

To support them in their work, Stories from Palestine podcast decided to produce a series on the Palestinian artisans. In this episode you can hear about two of the artisans from the town of Bethlehem.

Podcast series on Handmade Palestine artisans

Ma’an Lil Hayat for felted wool items

Ma’an Lil Hayat is located in a beautiful building in the center of Bethlehem. It is the only place where Palestinians with and without intellectual disabilities spend time together. They work on the process of felting wool from local Bethlehem sheep. The felted wool is used to produce different items such as nativity scenes, Christmas ornaments, house decorations but also super warm and comfy house shoes.

Nativity set made with felt

The chore members learn a number of different skills from the staff members. Their families bring them to the Center for social life outside of the home. They often think their children are unable to do anything. At Ma’an Lil Hayat they teach them basic skills and they let them participate in daily activities.

Preparing the felt at Ma’an Lil Hayat

They sell the felted wool items in their shop but since the Covid pandemic started, there have hardly been any visitors. You can find their products in the online webshop of Handmade Palestine.

Silver olive leave pendants, hangers, earrings and rings

Silversmith Tawfiq Kattan and his son Samer produce beautiful silver olive leave jewelry. They were inspired to do so by Nadira Al Araj from Bethlehem. She took a course at Dar an-Nadwa, a cultural and conference center in Bethlehem, where she learned the technique. She has tried to make jewelry with leaves of other trees, but the olive leave is the best leave. The oil percentage in the leave is high. When they dip the leave in the hot silver, the leave burns but the silver takes the shape of the leave.

Silver olive leaves jewelry

The olive tree is also an important symbol for Palestinians. The olive tree symbolizes peace, prosperity and survival. Palestinians are rooted in the land, just like the olive trees. The produce of the olive tree is an important part of the livelihood of many Palestinians.

You can buy the silver olive leave jewelry at the Kattan shop in the old city of Bethlehem, across from Dar an-Nadwa Center, or you can order it online from Handmade Palestine.

Order Palestine products online from Handmade Palestine

If you want to order your own Palestinian products from the online webshop of Handmade Palestine then go to their website: https://handmadepalestine.com