It's time to look back and share with you what 2021 has been like for Sunbula and our artisans. It was another challenging year under the pandemic, but we are grateful for these milestones to celebrate!
1. We provided more emergency aid to our artisan partners
The year began with a two-month lockdown, and while the restrictions gradually eased with the vaccination we continue to struggle with much slower business compared to the pre-pandemic times. The cash flow problem at our artisan groups, now stretching over two years, made it very difficult for them to pay wages or buy craft materials. We continued our emergency fundraising that started in 2020, and raised $14,000 this year from small grants and individual donations to provide direct aid to seven of the most vulnerable groups to help sustain their operation.
2. We launched our new brand and website
We introduced our new brand and fully redesigned website in August, and updated our look to reflect our evolution over the last few decades. Our new logo is a modern take on the “sunbula (spike of wheat in Arabic)” embroidery motif, which symbolizes renewal and connection. It represents our refocusing on traditional crafts and dedication towards innovative economic empowerment for Palestinians. Enjoy reading about our history, how we work, our artisans and the traditional crafts on our website, and check out our expanded online shop!
3. We became part of GlobalGiving
4. We restarted our training program for artisans
In August, we restarted the sewing training for the women at Abu Nuwar Bedouin Charitable Society after more than a year of delay caused by the pandemic. The women currently produce t-shirts with silk-screened designs at the workshop that Sunbula helped establish in 2018. This time, we dispatched an instructor to teach them basic skills in sewing, so that they can start making bags and kitchen linens to print designs on. Look out for their new collection in the spring of 2022!
6. We hosted our first design student internship
7. Our Annual Holiday Bazaar was back!
In November, we organized the Annual Holiday Bazaar in Jerusalem at the beautiful garden of the French Institute. It was a joyous gathering of our artisans from the West Bank and Gaza Strip after skipping a year from the pandemic, and the atmosphere was festive with friends, families, and people from the community. Thank you, the French Institute team and our many volunteers, for a successful day!
2022 here we come!
Sunbula has been exploring ways to become a more viable social business, and worked to put together this year an extensive business plan with Momentum Labs, a team of young Palestinian experts on social impact, business, and technology. In 2022, we are planning to take its first steps with an aspiration to sustain and grow. Stay tuned by signing up to our newsletter from here!
Our big heartfelt 2021 gratitude goes to --
The British Shalom-Salaam Trust (UK), First Presbyterian Church, Houston (US), Funderbirds (UK), Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development (US), McMillan - Stewart Foundation (US), Network for Social Change (UK), Raymond Davis Foundation (US), Sigrid Rausing Trust (UK), and Social Capital Foundation (the Netherlands)
Our retail partners:
Hilweh Market (Jaffa), Middle East Children’s Alliance (US), Olive Branch Fair Trade (US), and Palestinart (Switzerland)
Our fiscal sponsors:
ArteEast (US) and Palcrafts UK
and everyone who supported us this year by donating, buying, and volunteering!
Wishing you a happy, healthy holiday season and a wonderful year in 2022!