Strengthening Product Development
Product development support is Sunbula's main strength. We make possible this costly process - hiring designers, investing in raw materials, upgrading production equipment - for the producer groups who cannot afford it themselves. We dispatch Palestinian designers to train the artisans, develop their skills and knowledge, and ultimately create a collection of new products to be market-tested at our stores. We also provide the producer groups with materials and equipment needed in the process.
Over the years, we have helped to develop hundreds of new items for partner producer groups. We have collaborated with a number of local designers and artists, including Ayed Arafah, Hamada Atallah, Rand Dabbour, Mahran Ismail, Aiman Salaimeh, Amir Salameh, Shireen Salman, Maro Sandrouni, and Ahmad Tawil, whose combined expertises encompass fashion and textile, graphic design, silk-screening, ceramics, jewelry, and interior design.
Enabling Access To Raw Materials
Craft producers in the occupied West Bank and Gaza face challenges in obtaining raw materials like thread, fabric, and beads under the movement restriction placed on people and commerce by the military occupation. Sunbula is able to use our resources as a fair trade organization to help facilitate access to materials.
Capacity Development Support
Our partner producer organizations are small grassroots groups that operate with shoe-string budgets, and often lack the reserved capital to repair or upgrade equipment when necessary. Sunbula assists them in obtaining production tools and equipment by locating resources.
We also train new producer groups in important business management skills, like basic bookkeeping, product pricing, managing raw materials, and inventory.
Market Access Service
Sunbula's fair trade store in Jerusalem and online shop are vital access points to the market for many of our producer groups. The guaranteed access to market means that Palestinian artisans have a stable income flow through Sunbula, enabling them to stay viable and sustainable.
Protect Cultural Heritage
Sunbula strives to preserve Palestine's artisanal heritage. In addition to ensuring the economic opportunity for artisans, we work to document the disappearing aspects of the heritage and to revitalize them in today's craft production.
Our first book, 'Embroiderying A Life: Paletinian Women and Embroidery' (2000) is oral history of women embroiderers. Our second publication, 'Seventeen Embroidery Techniques from Palstine: An Instruction Manual' (2019) is the first of its kind that teaches lesser-known embroidery techniques, made through years of museum and field research.
We organize workshops using the Instruction Manual in cooperation with local cultural institutions. The workshops are for general public with the focus on younger generation of Palestinians in hopes to pass the artisanal heritage into the future.