How we started
In July 2015, we, a group of Palestinian women living in the refugee camps of Bourg Al Shamali (Tyre), Ein El-Helwe (Saida), Bedawi (Tripoli) and Nahr Al Bared (Akkar) in Lebanon, were very sad because the 3 years project “Tatreez” funded by the European Union finished. It was a good project that gather Palestinian Women living in 3 different Refugee camps in Lebanon. We made very good friends and learned a lot about one of our main traditions, TATREEZ. With the support of two great experts in the embroidery and design fields, Heike Wehber and Victoria de Pereda, we studied not only the history and origins of our embroidery millenary tradition but also how to adapt it to the current times. Together we learned it was possible to blend Traditional Tatreez techniques and Modern designs. In our three workshops located in the camps, we set up our first production line and elaborate our handmade unique products!! We were so proud!! However the project ended without time for us to share them with the world.
It was not fair!! We believed in our project, we just needed a bit more of time, time for us to take a step in front, take a bigger role than just mere beneficiaries, we felt we were ready to continue our project and support many other Palestinian women living in the camps, that’s why, we registered our own organization TATREEZ DESIGN as a social enterprise in the Lebanese Ministry of Interior.
Our Handmade ProductsAt our workshops, we do tatreez, traditional embroidered handmade products blending our Palestinian tradition with modern designs. For us it’s a way to keep our culture alive and share it with the world. We do everything from start to the end. Choosing the colors, the patterns, the fabrics and then we are proudly learning how to incorporate them with new designs for products that can be used by everyone, like bags, pouches, accessories, clothing and we still plan to create more and more!!
We are coming to our workshops almost every day, sometimes we do tatreez, but we also come to meet our friends, to share our problems and help each other, to participate in psychosocial support activities together, or know more about our rights through awareness sessions.
Also here we learn new things, like English, Computer skills, Yoga, Sports and other social and recreational activities.
Our workshops are our “safe space”, where we can be free, without men or anyone else, a place for us, a place to share, learn, cry, laugh and we are alive.
And from time to time, when we can afford we do day trips out of the camps, we like to see beautiful places in the mountains, organize picnics or visit museums.
Why Does It Matter?
Some of us are in a special situation, as we are divorced, widows, single mothers or we have special needs, which in our families is considered to be a burden. But instead of getting down, we are strong, we are going to stand up and show the world that we are useful, we can help our families and we are proud to be Palestinian Women!
When we are at our TATREEZ safe spaces, “we feel relaxed”, “we feel relieved from our problems”, “we feel we are not alone”, “we dream awake”, “we smile”, “we laugh”, “we feel alive”, "we are women again", “we feel confident”, “we feel proud”