In September Jan visited two embroidery groups in the Gaza Strip.
The first was The Society of Women Graduates. The society was established in 1974 to develop the potential of Palestinian graduate women from all walks of life. One of their main objectives is to work with other organisations to support women’s independence and prospects in Gaza. They run workshops and tutorials aimed at self help and personal development. Many of the women are embroiderers and the Palestinian History Tapestry project seemed to fit in with their aims.
The second group visited was Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children. This is a registered NGO for deaf Palestinian children situated in Gaza City. It has been established since 1992 and is supported by Sunbula. Most of the children come from families below the poverty line, and rely on the goodwill of the community to supply their basic needs. Atfaluna is dedicated to encouraging members self help and in raising funds to support its work. The Atfaluna Vocational Training Unit offer opportunities for deaf people with no literacy or job skills. It is from within this unit that embroiderers and designers will be able to help with the history tapestry. Ibrahim pictured below is an artist who has already started on sketching.
The gender team from United Nations Relief Works Association UNRWA heard about the Palestinian History Tapestry project and proposed that school children could become involved with the drawings and sketches to be used by the embroiderers. This proposal was extra to our expectations and a very welcome suggestion.