Bethlehem Fair Trade Artisans, Bethlehem, Palestine www.bethlehemfairtrade.org
This is an amazing project run by the Executive Director Suzan Sahori. Based in Bethlehem it aims to support local specialist artisans in producing and retailing high quality olive wood, mother of pearl, glass, ceramic and embroidery goods. You can even buy olive soap through them! Operating with a fair trade emphasis it aims to get much more of the money raised into the hands of the workers, most of whom work in difficult conditions in small workshops, often linked to their homes. If you go on the website you will be able to meet some of the workers, and see their work.
This is how Suzan describes the work:
“Bethlehem Fair Trade Artisans is a non-profit, holistic development initiative formed in 2009 by members of the Bethlehem community. We want to provide local artisans with access to global markets while also engaging in development projects.
Many local craftspeople are the sole providers for their families, but are unable to sell their products at a fair price due to the economic crisis, language barriers and other outside forces. We want to give artisans the opportunity to be connected to the international community within the framework of fair trade, meaning that they get paid a fair price for what they make.
By helping the artisans, making more sales and growing the organization; we hope to strengthen other areas of Bethlehem’s economy. We want to promote recycling, education and food security to help ensure the sustainability of the community”.
The work is high quality, and Suzan understands the need to ensure that overseas customers get a really good product. The prices are really competitive on-line, but orders referred through Micah68 will receive a further discount.
To introduce 5 new UK based customers each year to BFTA.
Since Micah68 promoted BFTA, UK based customers have built up some good experiences of working with BFTA. Even after postage, packing and any customs charge, a profit can be made on sales – which of course can be used on your local projects, or go towards the next order to help support the workers and grow the work in Bethlehem. Olive wood gifts are not just for Christmas – what about Valentine’s hearts, Mothers Day gifts, Easter crosses, wedding favours, gifts for your children’s, youth or older person’s group, or for your pastoral visiting ministry? And of course what about the ceramics, embroidery, recycled glass and paper products that
Will you or your church become one of 5 new customers in support this work? Contact Ian for more details about how you can best support Bethlehem Fair Trade Artisans as a friend of Micah68.
Accumulator: 14 customers since 2011. What about you, your friends or church in 2017?
Micah Project Advocate:
Travelling with Ian to Bethlehem will give you an opportunity to visit the centre, meet the workers and visit some workshops, stay in the Shepherd’s Fields area, visit the historic Church of the Nativity, and eat some very good falafel, possibly at the famous Ifteem restaurant. You come back with the task of spreading the word about this creative work – and becoming a regular customer!