Women in Hebron is a Palestinian nonprofit fair trade cooperative under the Idna Cooperative Association for Embroidery and Handicrafts. Idna is a mid-sized Palestinian city of around 25,000 people, located to the southwest of Hebron in the West Bank.
Women in Hebron was established as part of the cooperative association’s efforts to provide women in Hebron district the resources to provide for themselves and their families through the production and sales of Palestinian handicraft items. Our work began in 2005, when our founder and director, Nawal Slemiah, began selling items in the Old City souq (market) of Hebron in the occupied H2 sector, a short distance from the Ibrahimi Mosque. Since 2005, Women in Hebron has grown from a small table along the main thoroughfare of the market to a permanent fixture in the Old City. As a result of our handicraft sales through Women in Hebron, The Idna Cooperative Association has been able to open a small community center in the village of Idna, where members of the association can gather together to do their work, take part in educational programs, and socialize with their peers.
The 120 women who produce the items that are sold come from across Hebron district from eight cities and villages. The proceeds from sales provide themselves and their families with additional income that could not otherwise be obtained through part-time employment.
Our work is based on the idea that developing Palestinian handicrafts is more than just an income-generating project. It is in of itself an act of community-strengthening, of honoring the role of women in our society, and a means to show sumud – steadfastness – in the face of the occupation of Palestine and the harm it has done to the people of Hebron.