Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative is located in the town Beit Sahour, across the street from the Shepherd's Field where, according to the tradition, the announcement of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds by the angels took place. The Cooperative consists of 35 family-run workshops where artisans carve crosses, nativity scenes and jewelries from local olive-wood and mother-of-pearl.
Olive-wood carving is an ancient heritage that dates back to as early as the 4th century with the start of Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In the 17th century, Franciscan monks introduced the art of mother-of-pearl carvings, which, together with olivewood, developed and flourished with the pilgrimage tourism in the Bethlehem area.
In 1981, a group of artisans in Beit Sahour came together and established the Cooperative, with the aims “to strive to alleviate poverty, increase employment, decrease emigration, and increase the level of income and sustain the Palestinian handicrafts industry for the benefit of the traditional handicrafts workmanship through marketing their products, marketing the raw materials at a low cost, and developing their capabilities technically and managerially”.
Over the decades, the Cooperative has shifted its focus to export and Fair Trade and cultivated supporters and partners in Europe. A member of WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization) it continues to strive for the preservation of the traditional crafts while utilizing them for economic self-help for artisans and their families.
Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society
Opposite the Shephard's Field
PO Box 20, Beit Sahour
Bethlehem District, West Bank
Tel: (+972) 02-277-3087
Fax: (+972) 02-277-3088
email@example.com | www.hlhcs.org