Along the busy streets, close to Hebron you will come upon the Dura Cooperative Association for Agricultural Production in the local market and you will see the long shelves with their products which include maftoul (cous cous), yogurt products (labaneh, cheese, dried yogurt), raisins, diebs (grape syrup), grape jam, dried herbs, and za’tar. They have received training in food processing from Oxfam and the Economic and Social Development Center of Palestine.
A “behind the scenes” tour brings us to the adjoining kitchen and work rooms, where already women have gathered to begin baking maltout, traditionally made for times of life’s celebrations such as weddings and funerals, but also made at the olive harvest as the preparation requires a great deal of olive oil. The women receive orders for up to 200 loaves from the local community for such events.
To show the visitors the process of making his bread, Sharifa Nassar begins to make and shape the dough and after letting it rise, rolls it into large circles. Transferred to baking sheets, another woman from the cooperative spreads these circles of dough with olive oil, folds them, spreads more oil—sometimes with the addition of sugar and ground walnuts—and readies the loaves for baking.
Meanwhile, Huda Shadid, director of the cooperative, shares news and the challenges they face. The good news: they have recently signed a contract with a local company to make maftoul (cous cous) which will enable them to hire an additional 20 local women. One challenge they face, however, is that the rent for their space is very expensive, and the building’s owner will not sigh a multi-year lease, and each year the rent is more.
For more information and to visit the Dura Cooperative contact them through their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Jam3iat.Dora, by email : firstname.lastname@example.org , by calling Huda Shadid at 0595198800
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