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In the West Bank, limited access to the global marketplace prevents many talented Palestinian women artisans from building careers with their sewing, embroidery, and design skills.
Dr. Janette Habashi, Associate Professor in educational psychology at the University of Oklahoma, is determined to change that.
She created the Child’s Cup Full artisan center in Zababdeh, a village in the northern West Bank, with a mission to create lasting economic opportunity for the most marginalized communities in the West Bank: Refugee and impoverished women.
The organization’s strategy is to train and employ women to make high quality, handmade children’s toys and tatreez embroidered accessories for the global marketplace, and to generate business opportunity by opening doors to the US market in particular.
Child’s Cup Full aims to build a self- sustaining business, so that eventually the funds generated from product sales can support its training and employment programs in hard-to-reach communities in the West Bank. We are currently fundraising on LaunchGood to sustain and grow our artisan center this year. We hope to raise $25,000 by mid-July to train and employ at least four moms in the Jenin region.
Four of the six women who currently work at the Child’s Cup Full artisan center in Zababdeh have been with CCF since 2012, including Rasha:
“I like the work here, and enjoy the company of these women. I have been able to help my family and kids, and Alhamdulillah, it’s improved the quality of my life, and has allowed me to be more confident…It has helped increase quality of life here for Zababdeh and the women working here. Hopefully, it remains like this so we can continue to be creative Palestinian Women!”
CCF uses a fair trade, retail and wholesale business model to scale solutions that tangibly improve the lives of refugee and low-income families. Rather than providing loans or vocational training, CCF aims to grow its own artisan center to create stable employment opportunities by growing its brands in the US. We hope to grow our artisan center in Zababdeh and eventually train and employ women in artisan collectives across the region, including Ramallah, Hebron and Beit Jala, to manufacture products for the Child’s Cup Full and Darzah brands.
Take action: Need to give your zakat for Ramadan? Donate to Child’s Cup Full here.
Submitted by Cayley Pater
This blog is a repost from Nadine Ismail of Arab America, a media outlet dedicated to promoting information about the Arab American community and Arab world.
BY: Nadine Ismail/Ambassador Blogger
While doing researching on Arab products, I discovered two organizations, Darzah, a fair trade website selling Palestinian tatreez clothing and accessories, as well as Child’s Cup Full, another fair trade website selling Palestinian-made children’s toys and educational products.
Immediately, I fell in love with the embroidered shoes on Darzah as soon as I saw them. This was a very satisfying purchase as Darzah is a brand that benefits refugees in the West Bank and empowers women. I was so excited when I received the box that I made a little unboxing video and shared it on my Instagram account. As an embroiderer myself who knows the time and effort it takes to create a neatly finished product, I was very impressed with the quality of the embroidery from Darzah.
Child’s Cup Full is the other line of Palestinian products that give back to low-income and refugee communities in the West Bank. The women behind Child’s Cup Full offer a variety of handmade educational toys for kids. I also made an unboxing video of the Arabic Alphabet Bag from Child’s Cup Full, and recommended it in my article on 10 Products To Teach Arabic to Toddlers.
The story of Darzah and Child’s Cup Full are compelling and inspirational. Luckily, I had the opportunity to interview their founder, Dr. Janette Habashi.
Nadine Ismail: How did you decided to start this organization?
Dr. Janette Habashi: It was not an easy decision to start Child’s Cup Full. I always wanted to do something to support the Palestinian community back home, but never knew what it could look like. Starting in 2009, I was fundraising with my students the University of Oklahoma (OU) for several years to support after school programs for refugee children in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. While fundraising was helpful, it became clear to me that in order to have a long-term, sustainable impact, I needed to find a way to create jobs for the moms.
After considering their skill sets and my academic background in educational psychology, creating an artisan center for women to produce educational children’s toys seemed like the logical next step.
Initially, I was reluctant because it was a big responsibility and I knew it required a lot of time and resources, especially because setting up the artisan center in the West Bank and our nonprofit in the U.S. meant creating two organizations at once, essentially. I had the IRS paperwork on my desk for several months, and eventually in 2014, I submitted the application. It wasn’t until a year later that CCF had a formal team in the U.S., which is still to this day just our Assistant Director and myself.
In 2015, we decided to create Darzah as another way to generate jobs for refugee and low-income women in the West Bank, and to share the beauty of tatreez embroidery. It’s certainly not easy, but I am so glad that I am on this path. Not only are we successfully helping women and their families, we are also placing a strong value on women’s contributions in their local communities in Palestine, which is so important.
NI: How does Child’s Cup Full and Darzah help women and refugees in the West Bank?
JH: High unemployment rates in the West Bank unfortunately impede people’s ability to have confidence in the economy and the future for their children. In order to combat that, our mission is to create jobs for the most marginalized members of Palestinian society, first and foremost. Our goal is to empower refugee and marginalized women through training and job creation, and to share their beautiful work in the global marketplace.
We want the women to make high quality, unique products, and we want people to be able to connect with Palestinian culture in new ways. By hiring marginalized women artisans, in return, we are providing a stable income that they can use to support themselves, their children and their families.
The women have expressed that working with CCF provides security, helps build confidence in the economy, and enables them to dream for their future. It is always exciting to hear about their plans.
NI: How are these products received in the US market? Are your customers mainly Arab Americans?
JH: We have been selling our products in markets all over the U.S. We have definitely refined both product lines in response to feedback from our customers. Our products are definitely appealing to Arab Americans, as well as the general market in the U.S.
We find that people who have never seen tatreez embroidery before, for example, get very excited about it and they love the products. We see a huge opportunity for both our educational toys and our tatreez embroidered products to grow in the U.S., and we want to make sure we are reaching communities that maybe have never before purchase a product made in the West Bank.
We want people to want our products because of their utility and quality, and then to appreciate the product because it’s fair trade, and creates jobs for Palestinian refugee and low-income women in the West Bank.
NI: Do you have a success story that comes to mind?
JH: I believe every day for us is a success story, considering how far we’ve come since we started. I remember at OU when we had our first bake sale to fundraise for the after school programs, and later we started with just $4,000 to create the artisan center. We are now in more than 25 stores in the U.S. and internationally, and we are building more momentum each day. We have retailers and companies who are interested and impressed with the quality and design of our products.
Success with our brands in the U.S. translates directly to success for job creation in the West Bank, and we hope to continue hiring more women as the business grows, so that we can rely on our sales to sustain our initiative there.
NI: What is the one product from each line that impresses you most and wish everyone would know about?
JH: I do love all of our products, but the one that still surprises me the most are the shoes. For me, these are not just beautiful, high quality embroidered shoes; they are the product of many math exercises and innovative thinking that our lead embroidery artist has to do to create them with our shoemaker in Hebron. It takes more than 3 days to finish a pair of shoes. It took us a year to find a shoemaker that could produce the shoes with the high quality leather and impeccable finishing they are made with now. Wearing these shoes is literally wearing a piece of art.
For the educational toys products, the toy that to this day still impresses me is one of our oldest toys, the Calendar. The colors, images, and quality attract not children, but also adults. Children can learn more than one aspect. Every time I look at our product I am impressed and confident that this work would not happen if it were not for our artisans.
Nadine Ismail of Reinventing Nadine is a blogger living in the Bay Area in California. Nadine shares on her blog and Instagram accounther recipes, crafts and embroidery tutorials, and parental advice, especially raising a bilingual child.Continue reading
How I found this gem is a story of how one good thing leads to another. In a recent blog post, I spoke with Afshan Khan about her and her sister, Drakshan’s heartwarming work with women in the Multan region of Pakistan. They do gorgeous embroidery under the brand name Purple Impression, based in Northern California. That conversation led me to another unsung hero, Jeanette who started a non profit organization, Darzah, to support the women and embroidery of Palestine.
When I looked up Darzah’s designs I loved them! They’re basically a mix of leather which Hebron is known for and beautiful handmade embroidery, the knowledge for which is handed down from mother to daughter in the villages of Palestine. So, of course off I went to order a pair of embroidered rose blush Palestinian ballerinas and contacted Janette who is based in Oklahoma for a phone interview. She graciously set a date for the next day. I so appreciate the willingness and openness to talk to strangers and give the gift of one’s precious time!
Janette was a bubbly, frank and charmingly down-to earth voice over the phone as she told me her inspiring and uplifting story. It all started with her gathering donations while doing her real job as a professor at Oklahoma University and taking her students one year to Jerusalem where they donated the money to a school there.
The parents of the students began asking her for jobs, so she started Zeki Learning which produced and sold Palestinian learning materials that were a 100% made in Palestine. They continued to ask for jobs so she founded Darzah. It’s this beautiful joining of north and south in Palestine, as the leather pieces, whether shoes or bags, or bracelets are made in Hebron in the south. And, the embroidery is made by refugees and low income women mainly in Zababdeh, in the north. The level of love and respect that Darzah is known for, is reflected in the way Jeanette operates by the book. She works tirelessly to grow Darzah ethically, including attaining the difficult Fair Trade certification and does so without one cent going into her pocket.
For her, the next step is to train the women in the North of Palestine and to buy old, but still working machines so that they can make the leather shoes and pieces themselves. Here’s a worthy cause if you are looking for one :- ) and while I was browsing through the website I found another.. Tatreez archive. Tatreez, named after an age old form of Palestinian embroidery, is an online platform creating an archive of Palestinian patterns, including the history and context of each. So if you know of one, make sure to send it so that your treasure can be documented and shared. Now that’s my kind of documentation!
Janette is so resourceful and energetic, ma sha Allah! She is basically juggling three jobs with skill, style and grace. I so admire people that I encounter who use their abundant, God Gifted energy to serve others in some powerful and meaningful way. She cleverly applied for the Frontiers MBA program at Notre Dame and was paired with some of the students, one of which is lovely Erin, whom I met as I passed NYC shortly after my talk with Janette to be supported on the business side.
Gracious and gentle Erin enthusiastically shared with me the details of her visit to Darzah in Palestine and how she would love to go again. I was so touched by her care and dedication towards the plight of women of a different world. Blessed are the champions of the weak with compassion and admiration being their drivers.
Darzah is an ethical fashion brand that sells shoes and accessories located in in the northern West Bank of Palestine. They are a part of a powerful mission; the creation of economic opportunities for refugees and low-income female artisans. Darzah specializes in traditional Palestinian ‘tatreez’ embroidery, which is a traditional art form that has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries.
Darzah is a project of a non-profit called CHILD’s CUP FULL which empowers women through creating economic opportunities in the northern West Bank. Child’s Cup full has an artisan center located in Zababdeh, West Bank which trains and employs female artisans through various means, such as fashion or toys.
Darzah has obtained fair trade certification from the Fair Trade Federation. Here is a direct quote on what the Fair Trade Federation stands for:
The Fair Trade Federation is the trade association that strengthens and promotes North American organizations fully committed to fair trade. The Federation is part of the global fair trade movement, building equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and creating opportunities to alleviate poverty.
By obtaining this certification Darzah is showing that it is committed to paying fair wages to its female artisans, committed to designing and implementing a sustainable supply chain and committed to building up the marginalized northern West Bank. In this area of the West Bank, there is extreme poverty and job creation is key to helping bring a solution to this troubled region.
Tatreez Embroidery is a centuries old technique that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is very resilient and has been found to last over 100 years. Some vintage panels over 100 years old can be found in Jerusalem today, with the panels being passed down in certain families. Stitched with pearl cotton and metallic threads, tatreez embroidery is very resilient.
All leather found in Darzah products is sourced from local family run leather manufacturers. As a result, the combination of Tatreez Embroidery and locally sourced leather makes for a unique product that is 100% made in Palestine.
Every purchase supports training and employment initiatives in the West Bank. Check out this video for more!
I am wearing their handcrafted leather and embroidered black and white Ecru D’orsay flats. This style of flat covers a larger part of your foot than some of their other flats, with creative side cut outs to give them a unique, modern style. They are super comfortable (and flattering) once they are worn in a bit. They are pretty close to fitting true to size, however if you are in-between sizes I would suggest to size up. There are a variety of other uniquely designed shoes, with subtle and bright embroidery details on each pair that you can shop HERE.
This post was sponsored by Darzah and contains affiliate links. All opinions are our own and written honestly. At Sutton + Grove we feature brands and businesses that we truly love and believe fit within a conscious lifestyle. Read More HERE.
Through her job at the University of Oklahoma Darzah founder, Dr. Habashi, was involved in Palestinian fundraising projects. When refugee and low-income women came to Dr. Habashi in need of jobs to support their families, she was quick to take action. With a 63% unemployment rate for young women living in Palestine, women struggle to find opportunities for work. Dr. Habashi founded Darzah with a vision of focusing on traditional Tatreez embroidery skills combined with modern style allowing these women to monetize skills they already had to support their families.
Tatreez embroidery is typically passed down from mothers to daughters in the Palestine culture. Different Tatreez embroidery patterns originate from various regions of Palestine making the intricate detail of Darzah products unique and meaningful. Since launching, this ethical fashion brand has been able to employ six women full time, twenty two women part time, & currently training eleven women. Darzah’s sister brand Zeki, creates additional jobs in Palestine through the creation of educational toys.
Through Darzah’s training the women refine their embroidery skills, learn record keeping, and other business skills giving each woman an opportunity to shine. Women craft Darzah goods at a community center allowing them to grow together. Each woman plays a vital role in Darzah’s supply chain. The individual roles encourage women to hold each other accountable, foster an organic community through teamwork, and take responsibility.
While Darzah is doing everything they can to create employment opportunities, there are still a lot of women in Palestine hoping for work. This is where consumers have the opportunity to help! By purchasing Darzah’s high quality leather goods and supporting their efforts, this allows Darzah to grow and hire more refugee & low-income women.
Recently I was given the Black Flat D'orsay shoes and I am so impressed. These shoes are incredibly well made and I’m loving them. The high quality leather is locally sourced from Al Khalil making the leather sole of the shoe very comfortable. I sincerely appreciate the intricate detail of the Tatreez embroidery. The style of the shoe is unique. These shoes truly are a wearable piece of art. I love that the pattern is bold, but the black and white colors allow these shoes to be paired with a variety of outfits and worn in any season.
I encourage you to support Darzah’s efforts empowering refugee & low income women by checking out their high quality leather goods and investing in fair fashion.
Thank you to Darzah for supporting The Honest Consumer community and sponsoring this post. Sponsored content helps keep The Honest Consumer up as a free resource for all interested in conscious living. For more tips & tricks on conscious living be sure to follow The Honest Consumer on social media.
It’s time for another sustainable brand highlight, y’all! It has been a lil’ while, hasn’t it? AND. This is the first of its kind! This is a sustainable *homeware* brand highlight. How cool is that?! Well, to be fair, Darzah makes beautiful shoes and accessories as well as a few homeware items, and I’m so excited to share them with you today. They have an incredible mission that I think is especially unique and thoughtful in ways that I haven’t seen very often. I’m so excited to share their story with you! Let’s roll.
This post is in collaboration with Darzah. They were kind enough to gift me one of their incredible pieces in exchange for my work, but all opinions are my own. The links in this post are not affiliate codes. Please view my Disclosures + Codes page for more information on how I disclose my collaborations and sponsorships.
Darzah and I decided to work together on a homeware collaboration and I absolutely love the outcome. Months ago, I had an idea of what I wanted my office to look like in head, but it was incredible to see it all come to fruition. This piece from Darzah is so much more than a pillow; this piece symbolizes what I want my home to represent and the pieces that I want to curate in my home for years to come.
I particularly chose the Tatreez Pillow in Black and Cream (on sale for $44, normally $59) because I feel that it compliments my home (specifically my office) so, so well. The burlap fabric along with the intricate, yet not overwhelming Tatreez design on the front adds just the right amount of flair for my taste. In my home, Aus and I are trying to go for a quite comfortable, bohemian yet timeless vibe, and I think this pillow fits in super well.
I am perhaps most excited to highlight their mission over at Darzah. Darzah is a non-profit, ethical fashion brand specializing in Palestinian “tatreez” embroidery. Tatreez embroidery is centuries-old and has been passed down amongst generations for lifetimes. Each of their products is hand-embroidered and 100% handcrafted in the West Bank. Their mission is:
Darzah is also a part of Child’s Full Cup, a non-profit women’s economic empowerment initiative. They are a Fair Trade organization, which means they are committed to pay fair wages to their employees, implementing sustainable manufacturing practices, and supporting marginalized communities.
There are some other products I would love to try out from Darzah in the future as well. While they are a bit pricey, just remember that buying from sustainable companies means investing in quality — not only in the product itself, but in the quality of life for those working to create the product. Darzah sells the most gorgeous and unique shoes, as well as handbags, aprons and pillowcases. I fully encourage you to check them out and take a look around — tell them I sent you.
This blog is a repost from Laura Markley of Waste-Free Phd Blog. Laura is a PhD student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Syracuse University. Check out her blog for ideas on how to reduce waste and find accurate information on waste, chemicals, and human/ecosystem health.
I fell in love with Darzah when I first saw Liv from Simply Liv & Co post about their mules a long, long time ago. I went straight to their website and was in awe of their beautiful tatreez embroidery, with varying colors and gorgeous attention to detail.
I then saw that they sold boots, which were even better in Syracuse's cold climate. I didn't end up purchasing from them until months later, when all of my hopes of finding suitable fashionable and comfortable footwear for my wide feet were dwindling.
I reached out to Darzah on Instagram to see if their ankle boots would accommodate my feet, and was pleasantly surprised to hear they were adjusting the width so more people could wear them. I knew I had to give them a try!
Darzah discounted my boots in exchange for a review. However, all thoughts in this review are my own and I am presenting my honest opinion of the company, their mission, and the product.
The embroidery on Darzah ("stitch" in Arabic) products is called tatreez embroidery, which is a traditional Palestinian embroidery technique. As a non-profit and fair-trade certified company, Darzah provides opportunities for refugee and low-income women to have well paying jobs and positive working conditions in the West Bank. They aim to celebrate and uplift the women and Palestinian culture that resides there.
I was astounded to learn that unemployment rates in 2015 for young women in the West Bank were as high as 63%. Darzah is working to help provide training and jobs to the individuals in the West Bank that need them the most. Darzah is a part of Child's Cup Full, a non-profit women's economic empowerment initiative based in Zababdeh, a village located in the northern West Bank.
The training and jobs from Darzah changes lives and as the founder said to me, the artisans working for Darzah have changed their lives in return.
Darzah products, like the boots I purchased, are made from real leather. I am not vegan, but I do like to consider where animal products I purchase are sourced from. In my opinion, I would rather have an animal-based product that would last longer and is sustainably sourced than one that is plastic-based and will wear less favorably over time.
Before going into the details, I want to say that I am incredibly impressed with the degree of transparency that Darzah had in sharing this informationabout their leather processing and answering questions my IG followers had.
All of the leather used in Darzah products is sourced from a family-run leather manufacturer in Khalil/Hebron. This leather is not only local, but is material that would otherwise be wasted. All leather used is sourced from local butchers.
As for their leather tannery, 80% of the materials they use are vegetable-based and the rest is chromium (III) and zinc. In contrast to chromium (VI), chromium (III) is less mobile and less toxic (Fei and Liu 2016). Chromium and zinc are used during the first stage of leather treating to get rid of hair and wool. Tanneries follow the international standards in treating leather.
They have a special refinery that separates the chromium and zinc from the rest of the water, which is then collected as a powder to be stored or disposed of inside Israel.
For size reference, I wear an 8.5/9 wide and ordered an 8.5 (or 39) in these boots. I started wearing these shoes two months ago.
When I first received my order, I opened the bag and was ASTOUNDED. These boots are even more gorgeous in person. The amount of work that went into making these boots is evident and the skill of their artisans is unmatched. The tatreez embroidery is exceptional and beautiful.
Aside from a small amount of black dye that was on the ecru portion of one of the embroidered sides, there were no faults in the boots and this small, barely visible blip honestly didn't bother me. I really enjoy small faults like this in products because I think it adds to its hand-made beauty.
My boots arrived packaged in a reusable fabric bag with minimal packaging. As soon as I put these on, I was worried about how snug they were. I went and messaged Darzah and was comforted: they will break in, it's normal! As a wide-footed platypus human, I was skeptical. I hear this all the time. But they were so right. A couple months in, these boots fit like an absolute dream. They have molded to my foot in ways that no other boots have for me in the past.
The slight heel from these boots is also one of my absolute favorite features. I like to have a little pep in my step. I can wear these casually in the lab or to a professional conference and feel appropriately dressed for both occasions.
The height of the shoe is perfection. They don't shorten or cut your legs up into unflattering portions, but compliment any outfit and give you the confidence to strut your stuff. I would feel comfortable wearing these with jeans, slacks, dresses, or shorts... really anything. I am not exaggerating when I say these are my everyday go-to shoe (with recent snowy weather, I opt for my bean boots instead). I have worn these in the rain without adding a treatment to the leather and they have turned out fine.
Like all shoes, these aren't perfect. There have been times I've worn them that my feet have felt fatigued and sore afterward. I walk to school and some days I have to go in-between buildings for class or lab work. If I walk to and from school on a given day and add in walking around my lab, it's over 2 miles for a given day. This isn't a shoe for long-distance walking, but it has merit in other ways.
I brought these shoes to my recent SETAC conference in Toronto, Canada and my feet got sore after each day (some days walking around 15,000 steps). But if I contrast this to a conference I went to a couple years ago, wearing a pair of supposedly top-notch ankle boots from Cobb Hill, my feet felt better at the end of the day in my Darzah boots than in my Cobb Hill boots.
There have also been a couple occasions where my pinky toe was squished into my neighboring toe, causing a bit of a toe war and resulting in a small nail cut. This didn't bother me and has only happened when I wear them for too long or simply forget to cut my toe nails... more of a personal problem.
My last problem has been the longevity of the rubber outsole on the bottom of the heel and shoe. The front of the shoe's outsole has lifted slightly in the middle of the shoe and the back heel has worn down significantly in some locations, likely due to an unevenness in my step. After only two months of (albeit consistent) wear, I am surprised the heel has worn as much as it has. But, since I love these boots so much I will probably take them to a cobbler and see if I can get the heel reinforced and repaired and save these shoes for certain occasions, rather than for consistent commuting.
LOVE! Everything about Darzah's mission and process makes me want to support them. If I can't find things used, I find it best to support a company I believe in that is transparent, ethical, sustainable, and doing the most good. Darzah fits the bill on all accounts, and with all the style you could ever hope for.
I plan on being a repeat customer in the future, if the need arise!
In addition to shoes, Darzah has a lovely assortment of other products like: key fobs, headbands, pillows, bags, and more! Check them out.