Our Work

Our Work

We work in direct partnership with 25 producer organizations located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip, and Palestinian communities inside Israel, whose combined membership is over 2000 people.  Sunbula works to ensure the viability and sustainability of our partners by supporting them in the product development, capacity-building, accessing materials, and marketing.  We also strive to protect the artisan heritage of Palestine.   

PROVIDE ONGOING SUPPORT IN 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 developing their skills and knowledge, and to 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 years, we have helped creating hundreds of new items for our 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.

ACCESS TO RAW MATERIALS

Craft producers in the occupied territories 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 BUILDING SUPPORT

Our partner craft producers, small grassroots groups operating with shoe-string budget, often lack reserved capital for repairing or upgrading production equipment when the need arises.  Sunbula assists them in obtaining production tools and equipment by locating resources. 

We also train new producer groups in the know-how on running an income-generation, such as basic bookkeeping, product pricing, managing raw materials, and inventory.  

PROVIDE MARKET ACCESS

Sunbula's fair trade stores in Jerusalem and the online shop are vital access points to the consumer market for many of our producer groups.  The guaranteed access to market means that the artisans have much-needed income through Sunbula, while it helps the craft producer groups 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.