Manchester Palestine Action presents
Palestinian Women’s Empowerment under Occupation: with Nawal Slemiah, founder and director of Women in Hebron.
7.30pm Monday 20th October
Green Fish Resource Centre
46-50 Oldham Street, Manchester
A discussion on how Palestinian women can empower themselves and their communities while living with the daily reality of life under occupation, and how the international Palestine solidarity movement can support them.
Nawal Slemiah is the founder and director of Women in Hebron (WiH), a Palestinian nonprofit fair trade cooperative. WiH is part of the Idna Cooperative Association for Embroidery and Handicrafts.
The cooperative provides women with indispensable education and sources of income for themselves and for their families, increasing their social and economic independence. However this is more than just an income-generating project. It is also an act of preserving Palestinian cultural heritage, of strengthening community, of honouring the role of women in Palestinian society, and of showing sumud – steadfastness – in the face of the occupation of Palestine and the harm it has done to the people of Hebron.The history of this co-operative started soon after Nawal’s wedding in 2005 when she decided to invest the $200 nuptial gift she received in embroidery material instead of the traditional wedding practice of buying jewellery. Thereafter, Nawal began selling handicrafts in the streets of the Old City souq (market) of Hebron and persevered despite the insecurity and daily humiliation she faced as a Palestinian woman selling items in the Israeli occupied sector (H2) of Hebron. 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. It is now employing some 150 women.
As a result of their handicraft sales and with the support of several grants and partners, Women in Hebron has been able to open a small community centre in the village of Idna, where members of the association can gather together to do their work and take part in educational programs. They are currently planning to develop new facilities aimed at providing childcare within their warehouse, hoping to allow women from all walks of life to join in the work.