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SumayaIf you are looking for a chic bag that goes easily with jeans or khakis and is a gorgeous accessory for night, look no further. Artisan women trained by the Arts and Crafts Department at the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children in Gaza City have the bag for you. Five bags, to be exact. One for each day of the work week or for school. “These bags are more than popular,” says Ibrihim who supervises production by students at the school and long-grown-up graduates who mastered a trade while studying. “This is one of the original designs we put forward 15 years ago … and it is one of our best sellers. “People love it.” Chic never goes out of style. 1209_clutch_bag 1391348199 1391347688 1391347494 1391348098

Thirty-two-year-old Sumaya Al-rantesy a sewing and embroidery specialist who is one of the nearly 200 women working in groups at the facility, or, who work from home to keep up with demand for embroidered products, whether it is shawls, bags or bookmarks. It takes about two days to complete one purse, beginning to end. Siham & Ola at their sewing machines Sumaya began work while she was a student at the school and now has 15 years of experience on her resume. Her income helps supports her extended family, along with her sister. Sumaya says that it “feels good” to be able to hold a beautiful product that she's made with her own two hands. “It makes me happy,” she says. Gaza's isolation makes economic life difficult; extended families stick together. “The aim of this program is to raise the living of people in Gaza, particularly women who help to economically support their families. All of the families are very poor,” says Ibrihim Almuhtady, head of the crafts unit.


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