Products: Handmade jewelry
Beneficiaries: 10 women from Beit Doqu village
Beit Doqu is a small agricultural village of approximately 2,000 inhabitants, nestled among terraced hills and scenic valleys adjacent to Jerusalem. The village used to enjoy prosperity owing to its agricultural export to the Gulf states and its close proximity to Jerusalem, where many villagers worked. However, due to the Israeli closure policy in the West Bank that began in the mid-1990s, the village economy has gradually been strangulated. The severe restrictions on movement have impeded exports and access to jobs. In addition, over the last few years, the rapid expansion of Israeli settlements, road network and the Separation Wall have completely encircled Beit Doqu along with other agricultural villages in the area. This has resulted in the loss of a large area of agricultural land – a vital source of livelihood – and further impeded villagers’ ability to reach the workplace, schools and medical services for the villagers.
Beit Doqu Development Society is a nonprofit charitable organization established in 1988 by a group of active young people in the village of Beit Doqu. It is a public institution for every citizen of the village and provides cultural, social, agricultural, and health services in the community. The Society’s main goals are to create new job opportunities, assist in the development of local infrastructure, and work in the field of the childhood development. It also aims to enhance the status and role of women through the Women’s Center, established in 1996. The Society has 355 members and serves more than 700 youth, women, and farmers of the village.
Sunbula began the jewelry-making project at Beit Doqu Development Society in the fall of 2010. Sunbula’s designers taught the traditional jewelry designs of the region, such as Islamic styles and arabesque. The women were also trained in beading techniques and basic metal work, including cutting, sawing, melding, and polishing. The jewelry is made with semi-precious stones and metal, using both traditional and modern designs.
The project today provides an income-generation opportunity for the young women in the village while helping to preserve the traditional artisan heritage of Palestine.
The Society also runs the food production, turning the village's abundant harvest into a variety of processed food, such as tomato sauce, fruit jams, relishes, and pickles. They are the customer favorites at the farmers' market in Sunbula's garden every spring and summer.