On 30 October it was an honour for us to host Nawal Slemiah, the formidable, passionate and talented founder of the Women In Hebron handicrafts co-operative.
The co-operative has empowered hundreds of women from the city of Hebron and its surrounding villages, it offers a crucial income for families and it preserves and continues the beautiful tradition of Palestinian embroidery.
In doing all those things it is also, as Nawal explained, an act of resistance against occupation and Israel’s desire to erase Palestinian culture and identity.
Nawal also talked about the crucial role that women play in supporting their families and as crucial pillars of the community in a context where the occupation has jailed 70% of Palestinian men and where men’s ability to work their land and otherwise make a living has been severely curtailed by violent settlers, the Israeli occupation forces and imprisonment.
Nawal was on a speaking tour of the UK, having made the difficult journey here from the West Bank, and there was an opportunity for people to buy the co-operative’s beautiful and unique hand-stitched products at the venue, St Alfege Church in Whitstable.
To find out more about the co-op and its work, visit the Women in Hebron website.