Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil works at activating and empowering the role of Women in the Women community- Based Organizations, which is considered fragile in the Palestinian society.
The Masar focuses its empowerment in the field of Community Tourism on the villages that Masar Ibrahim trails passes from. This is through Embroidery and Sewing Trainings, English Language Skills, and Home-Stay Trainings.
Community-Based Organizations (CBO’s) along Masar Ibrahim:
Palestinian Women Committee: Located in Awarta/ Nablus and founded in 1988. The Board consists of 5 Females, and the main activities for the committee are empowering women (Psychologically, socially, economically, and culturally). Income generating projects, summer clubs and Students learning courses. They produce 5 types of soap Production (Dead sea, Lavender, Mint, Honey, yogurt), drying thyme, Olive oil and sweets.
Women charitable Society: Located in Sanur/ Jenin, founded in 2004, the board is 7, and its main activities are Cultural workshops, Sumer Clubs, First Aid, Recreational Programs, and students learning courses. They produce Pickles, Pastries, Drying Herbs (Thyme, Sage, Rosemary), and Dairy production.
Aqrabah Women Center: located in Aqrabah/ Nablus, established in 2007. The center has 8 members, and have a round 200 beneficiaries of women in the village. The center has no separate legal or economic entity, it is part of Aqraba municipality. It was established as a service unit targeting women in the village. Its main activities are medical days, awareness workshops, creating job opportunities, and summer camps. They produce Olives Oil, Embroidery, and bracelets& necklaces made of Beads.
Arabeh Association for Women Development: located in Arabeh/ Jenin, founded in 2008, the board is 9, and its main activities are hosting tourists, Women capacity building, School Cafeteria, Summer Clubs and Recreational programs. They produce Duqqa (a mixture of dried herbs, wheat, Hummus, nuts and spices), Stuffed Olive, Black seeds sweet and Maftoul.
Bani Naim Cooperative For Food Production: located in Bani Naim/ Hebron, founded in 2011, the board is 5 Females, its main activities are Kindergarten, food production, Awareness workshops, income generating projects. they produce different types of grape production, Dairy Production, Jams, and Pastries, as well as Sweet, and Pickles.
Women committee: located in Artas/ Bethlehem, founded in 1993, its main activities are awareness about Healthy food for students, Workshops, Sewing, and Embroidery. They produce Tomato Jam, Pastries, Maftoul, and Sweets, as well as Pickles, Jams, and Dried Herbs.
Al Rashaydeh Women Center: located in Al Rashaydeh/ Bethlehem, founded in 2012, the board is 11, and licensed under the Palestinian Authority law by the number of (BL-3353-C), the center has 30 general assembly members, whom are all women, the center aims at creating better status of women in a Bedouin culture, in addition to empowering women economically and socially and create rights awareness. Its main activities are Empowering Women and Enhancing women situations, they produce Yogurt and Butter.
Aqbat Jabr Women Center: located in Aqbat Jabr refugee camp/Jericho founded in 2008, the board is 7, its main activities are Trainings & Workshop, job opportunities, and Students Summer Camps, as well as Women Winter Camps. They produce Maftoul, Eggplant pickles, Honey, and Chili.
Birqeen Ladies Center Society: located in Burqin/ Jenin , founded in 2005, the board is 7, its main activities are awareness programs and producing healthy food such as Maftoul, dried tomato, dairy production, and Pastries, as well as Duqqa (milled thyme with some spices).
Alata’ Women Association: located in Kufr Malik/ Ramallah, founded in2008, the board is 9, its main activities are Social and Cultural programs, a day care, and food production, they produce Embroidery, straw handicrafts, drying Thyme, and Chamomile.
Joint Auja Women Association Center: located in Al Auja/ Jericho ,Registered on 14/2/2011, the center is licensed under the Palestinian Authority law with the number of (JR-648-C). The center has 40 general assembly members whom are all women. The center’s mission is to empower women in the area economically and socially. its main activities are awareness workshops, and handicrafts made of banana leafs, they produce baskets and embroidery.
In their workroom located in the village of Ubeidya, Bethlehem, a group of local Palestinian women create beautiful tunics with traditional design motifs embroidered using cross stitch and tahriri (or rishiq) stitches.
As many as eight women currently work from their homes embroidering the designs on rectangular pieces of cloth. The embroidered pieces of cloth are then returned to the workroom in Ubeidiya where the pattern templates are laid over the cloth to cut out the tunic. The workroom houses ten sewing machines; women in the workroom sew the tunics. The Women’s Center has been supported and encouraged by The Danish House in Ramallah ( www.dhip.ps ) which has offered the women five-day intensive workshops which train the women on adding new fabric colors (traditional dresses are made mostly on black or red cloth) and “developing traditional patterns so designs can match the contemporary fashion”. Danish House has also organized two exhibitions for women to show their work and become known in the textile market. Networking with others is so important to the women. UBEIDIYA DESIGNS receives custom orders for their tunics through their facebook page, which displays various seasonal clothing for women and children. Their peak season is generally November through January as many items are custom ordered for holiday gift-giving. The products are also promoted by UN women and the local community. In addition to their embroidered goods, the women make and sell pastries, bread and pickles. The women welcome the cooperative efforts of the Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil which works to promote tourism through its hiking program and supports local economies and helps market and promote handcrafts and food products made by local artisans and cooperatives. In addition to generating income for the women of the cooperative, by working with Masar, these women will network with other organizations and participate in a rich cultural exchange with visitors to Palestine.
Driving through the mountainous desert region of the Jordan Valley you come upon the Bedouin village of Al-Rashayda, a little over 7 miles (12 km) east of Jerusalem. Some of the women there formed a cooperative in 2011 to support each other and help generate income by the sale of their products.
Despite their traditional roles and many children—a young bride was recently encouraged by the group to have 15 children!—the women are eager to visit with outsiders and soon everyone is sharing stories about marriage, daily life, and crafts and projects. Their hospitality extends when serving sweet, hot tea, fresh bread, and their own butter and yogurt. From their herd of over 300 sheep they can make enough yogurt and butter to sell to a local trader who comes to their village to take to market in Bethlehem.
It is easy to communicate in this cheerful circle of women (even without speaking Arabic), whether by sharing an idea for an income generating project, or when being shown the wool-filled pillows and mattresses that they collectively made for the wedding couple. Before you leave the village you might be invited to come to the next wedding and dancing, or to spend the night in a tent and then help milk the sheep and make the yogurt in the morning.
In addition to hiking the beautiful landscapes of the Masar Ibrahim, such an invitation and adventure is not one to miss! You can reach the women’s cooperative by contacting Alia Rashaydeh at telephone 0522809655.
On a visit to the Bani Neim Cooperative for Food Production you might enter the kitchen to find a group of women already at work in the kitchen preparing a large batch of shadeah (link to recipe). One of the women who came to work had brought her daughter to the adjacent kindergarten sponsored by the Cooperative.
The process of making a quantity of shadeah begins by filling large pot with debes (grape syrup), then adding wheat, blackseed, a special blend of spices, and oil. This mixture must be stirred constantly for about an hour until it thickens into a jam-like consistency. It is then put in smaller jars to be labeled and sold.
It is said that the said that the importance of black seed, an ingredient of sadeah, is mentioned in the Koran by the Prophet. And so, if eaten with breakfast, shadeah supplies energy for the entire day. Older women know the recipe and process for making shadeah and are teaching it to younger women to keep the tradition alive.
The Bani Neim Cooperative for Food Production also prepares raisins, dried figs and dried tomatoes, and strawberry jam. Oxfam has provided two large food dehydrators to the Cooperative. Debes (grape syrup) and Lebneh (yogurt drained and shaped into cheese-like balls and preserved in olive oil) are also produced and sold by the Cooperative’s member workers. The Cooperative, located in the small village of Bani Neim in Hebron, is convenient to the homes of the ten women who are member workers. Currently the kitchen space is rented, but the workers would like to build their own kitchen facility. The current space would then be used by the kindergarten, also a project of the Cooperative.
You can contact Abeer Hmidat (Tel. 0599940558) to arrange a visit or buy the women’s products. By working with the Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil the women hope to expand their market skills and sales and thereby further share information about Palestinian culture and heritage.
As part of the Economic Development across the Fragile Community project which is funded by the World Bank, Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil has held a meeting to the women of the community based organizations (CBOs) in the north segment of the Masar last Monday, July 27th, 2015.
As part of "Developing the Rural Communities in Palestine" Program, which is funded by our French Partners (Tetraktys, Afrat, AFD, The French Consulate, and the municipalities in France), Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil with the cooperation of its partner, the Institute for Community Partnership (ICP) has held a workshop to the women of the community based organizations (CBOs) last Wednesday, March 25, 2015 regarding developing and enhancing the quality of products of each women center across the Masar.
Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil, with the support of its French Partners (Tetraktys, Afrat, AFD, The French Consulate, and the municipalities in France) has achieved a great deal of the “Renovation of the Home-Stays” project so far.
After having a good training on Embroidery, women of the local communities along Masar Ibrahim have started their own work at home which is a great achievement of independency and an income generating project that Masar Ibrahim and the women have achieved.
The Women Empowerment Project, Funded by the German Cooperation GIZ and implemented by Masar Ibrahim al Khalil, aims to build women abilities and prepare them to enter political life, through a series of capacity building measures.
In a series of workshops and trainings the participants will gain knowledge and experience on Human Rights, Democracy, Gender, Leadership, Citizenship, Civil Laws, Elections, Community Participation and other related topics. Some of the participants will be trained as trainers in order to train other women in their local villages through their Women Community Based Organizations by transferring information and knowledge, of course, some experiences to other women in order to promote women empowerment and much more women gain the needed benefits.