Darzah was created with one goal in mind, empowering women in the West Bank. If it wouldn’t have been for the group of local mothers that approached us, voicing their desire for work, Darzah simply wouldn’t exist (read more about how Darzah was founded here). That is why our mission to empower women will always be central to everything that we do.
In the West Bank, unemployment rates for young women are extremely high, affecting over 60% of the population. We aim to provide training and job opportunities for some of the most marginalized individuals by working with women in the northern region specifically, where poverty rates are especially high. There are numerous barriers to work for Palestinian women, including constraints of traditional society and geography. It is not particularly common for women to have reliable means of transportation, making daily commutes particularly difficult. All of our artisans have unique situations that make daily commuting and a normal 9-5 schedule difficult. For example, one of our artisans is also a college student, one is a single mother, and one has been sent to live with family in a remote village. To combat these hindrances, all of our artisans can choose to work from home, with materials and training delivered to them personally by our lead artisan, Rahaf. This allows our artisans to fulfill their familial roles and personal responsibilities, while also earning an income.
Each of our artisans earns a living wage, well above the local minimum. With the income generated by working with Darzah, these women are better able to provide for themselves and their families. We make sure that every woman working with Darzah knows her value and feels comfortable and confident sharing her opinions. That is why there is no hierarchy amongst the artisans. All are treated as equals, and as such, are encouraged to make decisions as a group. This income and community creates added stability that has led our artisan to create larger dreams for not only themselves but also our organization.
In 2019, our 6 full-time artisans participated in a 6-month long beginner course in leatherworking. Learning this new trade was thrilling for them and the artisans have been eager to put their new skills to use, working on new designs for upcoming collections. This training means that some of our leather products, such as Key Fobs and Purses, are now made from start to finish by our female artisans. We hope to secure funding soon for training in the next stage of leatherworking and the art of shoemaking, taught through an 18-month long course.
Our commitment and dedication have been recognized both locally and internationally. The supportive nature of our organization has become well known in local communities, with new applications being received each week from local Palestinian women interested in working for Darzah. In addition to this local recognition, our work has even been endorsed by the Fair Trade Federation. Our Fair Trade certification is a reflection of our promise to provide fair wages to our employees, implement sustainable manufacturing practices, and supporting marginalized communities.
If you would like to know more about how we are working to empower marginalized women in the West Bank, send us an email at email@example.com.