“Give a woman a fish, and you feed her family for a day.
Teach a woman to run her own business, and she feeds her family for a lifetime.”
Announcing the launch of the “Freedom Stitchers” project to create self-sufficiency for marginalized and jobless women in Gaza.
The “Freedom Stitchers” project begins in Gaza, in late autumn 2013
“Freedom Stitchers” will be a sustainable project run by women in Gaza. This micro-business is based on the idea that Palestinian women possess their own unique artistic and design skills, but they need a process to sell their finished products to the world, (with a little help from their friends at “Freedom Stitchers.”) They have the right to set up businesses, but are prevented in selling their artistry by the illegal blockade on their borders.
We therefore intend to help set up this business for women in Gaza to market not only their exquisite embroidery, but to also enhance their artistic skills by teaching them how to knit, crochet, do silk ribbon embroidery, beadwork, felting, and other types of hand stitching for textile art which can then be sold.
The three of us organizers, Sinead MacLochlainn, Mary Hughes Thompson and Greta Berlin are long-time activists for justice in Palestine. You can read more about us on our bio page and on the website at www.freedomstitchers.org
HOW YOU CAN HELP US
“Freedom Stitchers” will work to set up a trade route to import supplies and then export the finished products made by these women. This idea has worked in other countries, but because Gaza is occupied and blockaded, no one has ever tried to import yarn, needles and material and export the finished goods. “Freedom Stitchers” aims to change this by creating a Trade-not-Aid project. Donating to this project provides the raw materials for the art work, something that is very difficult for the women of Gaza to receive. Your donation will help us set up a micro-business and will enable the project to be video-taped and perhaps even live streamed.
Your donations will help to enable these women to ‘Stitch for Freedom." Payments can be accepted by clicking on the CONTRIBUTE button that Indiegogo has set up for us. For more info or if you want to send us a check instead, contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit us at www.freedomstitchers.org
DOCUMENTING THE PROJECT
The “Freedom Stitchers” group intends to videotape parts of our initial three-week project, as we set up and run workshops with various women’s groups. You will have the opportunity to meet via video, some of the women and women’s groups in Gaza who hope to benefit from the “Freedom Stitchers” empowerment project, hear their personal stories and get to know them. You can share in our workshops as the women progress towards self-sufficiency via their work, as we see them progress from raw materials to finished projects ready for export.
FREEDOM STITCHERS ETHOS
Seven years ago, we were told we would never be able to sail boats into Gaza. Of the five co-founders of the Free Gaza movement, four were women, Mary Hughes Thompson and Greta Berlin being the major organizers from the beginning. We proved the naysayers wrong, and we did set sail for Gaza. We believe in the power of women, we believe we can help to empower our sisters in Gaza to be more self-sufficient and generate a small income if we share our knowledge, abilities and skills, if we reach out and join our hands, and stitch for Freedom!
We know women can make a difference. We have done it already. We have sailed boats into Gaza. We have taken delegations into Gaza. We have organized and nagged and prodded and pulled dignitaries, members of civil society and journalists to come to Gaza and see what is happening. It’s not enough. The next step is to begin to empower, and who better than women to take up that task?
We want to raise $25,000 USD (£16,400) as start-up money for this project. The money will be spent as follows:
- Implementing the project for up to 5 women’s groups in Gaza
- Purchasing all supplies for project implementation for up to 5 women’s groups. e.g. yarn, embroidery ribbon, embroidery threads, all sewing supplies, knitting needles and crochet hooks.
- Funding to cover the project, including shipping items to and from Gaza, duty fees and transfer fees and miscellaneous government fees.
- Shipping in five containers of yarn and needles, plus embroidery thread and other supplies, since many women cannot continue to embroider the beautiful Palestinian patterns for lack of raw materials. Embroidery thread is often not allowed into Gaza.
- Paying a Palestinian videographer from inside Gaza (hopefully a woman) and an editing suite to produce a documentary of the project from beginning to end.
- Website implementation, internet hosting for the sales site, design of logo and other creative work by Palestinians as needed.
Teach one …Make one…Market to the World
Together we CAN make a difference in the lives of our Palestinian sisters, but we need your support and your donations to make it happen. Join with us. You will be part of a small business. You will be able to contribute in creating work for women in Gaza who might never have had the chance for any income. So we ask all women and men around the world to support us, to follow us, to encourage us. To contribute to our project of breaking the siege, one woman at a time, through empowerment as we reach out our hands to our sisters in Gaza.