Economic Situation and the Role of Craft Groups in
Sunbula works with organizations that strive for economic
self-help through craft production. Since the Intifada (popular uprising) broke out in
the fall of 2000, the economic role of these craft producers, most of whom are women,
has become crucial. Many women have become a main breadwinner of the family, as their
husbands lost jobs inside Israel or Palestinian cities due to the hermetic closure of
the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Over the last several years, it has become
an enormous challenge for these craft producers to carry out their day-to-day work.
Due to the curfew and closure of communities, village women are often unable to bring
finished pieces of embroidery to their cooperative to receive wages. The craft
organizations are having difficulties obtaining fabric and threads, prevented by
hundreds of army checkpoints and road blocks that are placed across the West Bank.
Traveling in and out of Gaza Strip has become virtually impossible, as the Erez
Crossing, the Strip's only gateway to outside world, has been closed to most people.
When Sunbula's marketing effort for their crafts is needed more than ever,
our work has been affected negatively by this intensification of the Israeli
occupation. Face-to-face contact between Sunbula and the producers has become
impossible, as Palestinian communities have turned into isolated cantons, separated by
the continuous expansion of Jewish settlements and road systems that connect them. In
order to receive products from and to send payments back to the producers, Sunbula has
been relying on the help of people from aid agencies and diplomatic community, whose
immunity enables them to travel across the army checkpoints.
the rapid construction of the Separation Wall, Palestinian communities are threatened
with further physical isolation and economic stagnation. The role of the craft groups,
as well as Sunbula, will become even more vital to meet the needs of hundreds families
to afford food, clothing, education, and medical care.
Economic Empowerment A boy picks
up a package of work order - fabric, threads, and instruction - at Surif Women's
Cooperative in the village of Surif, the West Bank. His mother, while running her
household, would do the embroidery work at home in exchange of wages.
Working with the Marginalized Members of the Oasis Workshop, dedicated to provide a work opportunity
to adults with mental disability in Bethlehem area, recycle the milk cartons to
produce greeting cards
Preserving the Cultural Heritage Artisans at Atfaluna Crafts in Gaza City have successful revived the once-dying art
of Majdalawi fabric weaving.
Fair Trade is a
global network of producers, traders, marketers, advocates and consumers focused on
building equitable trading relationships between consumers in the developed countries
and producers in the world's most economically disadvantaged places, such as
cooperatives, women's groups, farmers and artisans. While providing development
opportunities in the Global South, Fair Trade works to raise awareness among consumers
in the Global North about the realities of the producers, and to encourage them to use
their purchasing power positively. (Source: Fair Trade Federation)
member of WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization), Sunbula is committed to upholding Fair Trade values: creating
opportunities for disadvantaged producers, sustaining fair working conditions and
wages, empowering women, and preserving traditional crafts and artisan skills.
Why Fair Trade?
In today's world
economy, where profits rule and small-scale producers are left out of bargaining
process, farmers, craft producers and other workers are often left without hope for
their future. Fair Trade helps exploited producers escape from this condition as a way
to maintain their traditional lifestyles with dignity. (Source: Global Exchange)
Sunbula strives to provide Palestinian craft producers a direct access to
consumers in the Global North by marketing their products through our Online Craft Market and at fair trade shops in Jerusalem.
What are Fair Trade products?
encompasses a range of goods, from agricultural products such as coffee, chocolate,
tea and bananas, to handicrafts such as clothing, household items and arts. They are
produced and distributed by producer groups, wholesalers and retailers who uphold the
Fair Trade principles. Agricultural products that fulfill strict Fair Trade criterion
can be identified by the “Fair Trade Certified” label, approved by the international
Fair Trade labeling organizations such as TransFair and Fair Trade Labeling Organization.