2018 at Sunbula A year in review

Season's Greetings

We would like to share with you what Sunbula has been up to during this busy yet fruitful year.

Reaching 24 partners!

We have welcomed 2 new craft producer groups to our partnership this year. Nisf Jubeil Ceramic brings us hand-crafted pottery by young women from the village of Nisf Jubeil, near Nablus. Beita Women's Development Society provides social and economic programs to village women in Nablus and Salfit areas.

Basketry, the rural artisanal heritage of Palestine, is kept alive by Beita Women's Development Society.

Sunbula is now working in partnership with a total of 24 craft producer groups, representing a diverse range of Palestinian crafts. By marketing their products at our fair trade stores, we strive to ensure the livelihood of artisans and the continuation of these traditions.

Introducing "Khayma 35"

Khayma is Arabic for tent, and 35 is the number of Bedouin families supported in this project that we established this year near Jerusalem in cooperation with Polish Aid.

Bedouins are among the most economically marginalized in Palestine, and the opportunity for women to earn income is virtually non-existent in many of the communities.

We worked with the artist Ayed Arafah from Bethlehem to set up a printing workshop from scratch. Ayed custom-made the equipment, and trained a group of women in basic silk-screening techniques for printing t-shirts.

Original prints were designed by Ayed and Mahran Ismail, a graphic designer from Nablus. The garments were sourced locally from one of the surviving textile factories in the West Bank.

After months of training and learning how to run a grassroots enterprise, the women completed their first t-shirts collection just in time for the holiday season.

They are now seeing the first fruit of the project -- an opportunity to work and to earn their own income.

The t-shirts are available at Sunbula fair trade store in Jerusalem and will also be at our online store soon!

Product Design & Development

We were excited to get a number of new products out this year. Product design and development is our core work, aiming to help our partners to develop new, marketable, quality products, in collaboration with local designers.

Embroidered duffel by Haneen Project (Nablus) with leather handles by Jelld (Hebron). Combining techniques and materials from different producer groups has expanded our design possibilities.

Women from the Bedouin community of Anata underwent the training by the Armenian-Palestinian designer Maro Sandrouni. The result was a beautiful collection of brass jewelry and wall-hangings, which were huge hits during the holiday season.

Another group of Bedouin women received the training by Shireen Salman, a Jerusalemite designer, in needle-felting. They created adorable animal figures and wool-felt coaster sets with natural sheep wool available in their community.

Palestinian Embroidery Manual

For many years, Sunbula, together with the experts Tania Nasir and Omar Nasser-Khoury, has been working to create an instruction manual on Palestinian embroidery, focusing on 17 techniques that are becoming forgotten. Thanks to a lot of support we received on the crowdfunding with BuildPalestine, we were able to raise funding to bring this book to a reality this year.

Originally planned for this October, the book launch is now scheduled for the springtime 2019. We will announce the date once it is finalized. Stay tuned!

Garden Events

The garden at our fair trade store in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem was busy and lively in the spring and fall months, showcasing the food and crafts by local producers and artisans.

Our Farmers' Market featured 'baladi' organic, and seasonal food by farmers, baker, and young chef from Jerusalem, Ramallah, Tubas, and more. Our weekly Lunch Deli in the Garden offered home-cooked Palestinian meals by women from the local community.
'Pottery in the Garden' brought exquisite work from Beit Jimal Monastery. 'Home Decor and Furniture Show' presented hand-crafted furniture by people with disability at Sheltered Workshop at the Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre.

Annual Holiday Bazaar

We wrapped up the year with the holiday bazaar in the beautiful courtyard of W.F. Albright Institute for Archeology in Jerusalem, in cooperation with The Educational Bookshop. Despite the sketchy weather so many people turned up to shop directly from our partner producer groups and guest vendors from across Palestine. It was one of our most successful bazaars ever!

Crafts from Gaza are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. Yet, we managed all throughout the year to keep in stock the work by our two partners, Atfaluna Society and Sulafa Embroidery Centre.

We would like to thank everyone who supported our work in 2018, by visiting our shops, volunteering at our events, and contributing to our projects.

Special thanks to AGFUND, Church of Scotland, McMillan-Stewart Foundation, Network for Social Change, Palcrafts/Hadeel, Polish Aid, Raymond Davis Foundation, and St. Andrew's Scottish Guesthouse for their generous support this year.

Wishing you a very happy 2019!

info@sunbula.org | +972 (0)2-672-1707 | PO Box 8619, Jerusalem 91086

Photos: Ahed Izhiman, Shirabe Yamada