Products: Embroidery, woodworks, ceramics, hand-woven Majdalawi fabric
Beneficiaries: 68 men and women with hearing disability in the Gaza Strip
Atfaluna Crafts is an income-generation project of Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children, the only institution in Gaza that is devoted to education and services of people with hearing disabilities. Founded in 1992, the Society offers academic education for 250 deaf children and serves more than 5,000 hearing- impaired people and their families annually through its speech pathology and clinical audiology programs and community outreach activities. Of the 148-member staff of the Society, 40% are hearing-impaired.
The Sociey was created to meet the needs of a large number of hearing-impaired people in Gaza Strip, who previously had little interaction with the world outside their homes, let alone educational or employment opportunities. Today, Atfaluna, which means “our children” in Arabic, provides deaf children a schooling that starts at the age of three, and teaches just about any subject that children would learn in a hearing school.
Atfaluna Crafts was born out of the need for vocational training for hearing-impaired adults, in addition to literacy programs. The participants themselves decided to turn the vocational program into an income- generation project, run primarily by deaf adults to produce and market quality, creative Palestinian crafts, home accessories and furniture. Today, the project encompasses a number of workshops, including wood carpentry, ceramics, embroidery and sewing, painting, and weaving. In addition to the Crafts employees, the project provides income for 250 women who work from home to produce embroideries.
Atfaluna Crafts shop is a must-stop for anyone visiting Gaza, where one can indulge in a pleasure of adoring gorgeous pieces of art, get inspired by the accomplishment of people living in most challenging circumstances, and shop from an incredible selection of the best Palestinian crafts.
The impressive quality and stunning design of their crafts are a testament to Atfaluna's vision and dedication, which have succeeded in bringing out the talents and creativity of people who have long been stigmatized and neglected.