Maro Zakarian is an Armenian Christian woman living in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem. She works at a Palestinian embroidery collective that supplies PalCraftaid with many of our handcrafted treasures. In Jerusalem, you can find their goods at the Melia shop, but you can find those same items right here at our site.
It’s difficult to make a living for families like the Zakarians in Jerusalem’s Old City so women like Maro are finding new uses for their time-honored, traditional embroidery. The Palestinian embroidery collective gathers hand-crafted embroidered items made by women for all over the area. They turn those embroidered items into unique and beautiful embroidered purses.. The proceeds from every purse sold in the Zakarian Collection goes to support Maro and other women who embroider for the Melia Shop.
The Zakarian Collection is done in an Old Palestinian tradition with a modern twist. In traditional Palestinian cross-stitching, the most popular motifs are geometric. Traditional techniques produce motifs in interweaving triangle, square and rosettes. Some of the tiny stitches are made to represent the mountain near their home or a cypress tree or the brightly colored flowers that bloom in the desert.
All Zakarian Collection Pieces Are:
100% hand-embroidered and handcrafted in Palestine
Each bag is hand-embroidered by refugee and low-income women artisans
The Zakarian Collection creates beautiful pieces that are drawn from the past and re-tailored for the future.
Every item sold helps Women like Maro provide for her family and send her children to school.
The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.
Helping those who are forgotten
Maro Zakarian lives with her elderly Aunt. Everyday a women comes to her home and visits her aunt. PalCraftaid supports workers who care for the elderly in Old Jerusalem and Ramallah. Siham is one of those workers.
Siham is an aid worker who cares for nearly 60 elderly people. She is dreaming creative ways to care for elderly people who would be otherwise forgotten.
Siham Shawamreh makes about 4 visits per month to roughly 60 elderly people in the Ramallah area. Ramallah is a Palestinian controlled territory that is just north of Jerusalem. She is a community worker. She calls herself a “community nurse.” She personally checks the cupboards and refrigerators of these elderly people to see what food is there. Sometimes, she will bring with her a doctor or a nurse who are willing to offer their services for free to elderly patients. Many of these people are unable to pay for the medical care they desperately need.
Most of all, she sits and listens. Approximately 50 percent of all the people she visits live alone because their children left the area long ago. They suffer from terrible loneliness. Younger people have had to flee the area to find work. Many are no longer allowed to cultivate the farm land because of the process of dispossession. Other younger people who have stayed in the area struggle to find work. They are often too poor to offer meaningful assistance to the elderly.
Shawamreh works with an organization called Aid to the Aged or ATTA. ATTA is an organization that was started to fill the void in the elder-care system. They provide meals, the coordinate shopping trips and they arrange for some basic medical care. ATTA is looking for ways to integrate these forgotten elderly people back into their homes and neighborhoods.
PalCraftaid has been helping to fund the efforts of ATTA for many years. When you buy an item in the Zakarian Collection, part of your purchase goes right to people like Siham Shawamreh who are making a real difference in the lives of people.
Take a look at the 4 stunning pieces in our featured Zakarian Collection.