Bethlehem Handicraft Platform has been founded to enhance the handicraft sector and strengthen the synergies between the actors in the Bethlehem area for the creation of a handicraft district.
Bethlehem is particularly known for its specialty in traditional artisanal handicrafts. Traditional crafts in Palestine go back to the early Thirteenth century, and nowadays, after centuries, the traditional crafts are still alive, counting olive wood hand-made products, mother-of-pearl, ceramics, candles, embroidery and olive oil soap. These handicrafts represent an important source of income for the city that welcomes thousands of tourists who come to visit the holy places. In June 2013, in order to keep the traditions alive and to protect Bethlehem patrimony, Bethlehem Handicraft Platform was founded. It is a forum that represents the wider handicraft sectors in Bethlehem, in the framework of a development project led by VIS – Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo, an Italian NGO, and financed by the Provincia Autonoma di Trento, a province in the North of Italy. The aim of the platform is to enhance the handicraft sector and strengthen the synergies between the actors in the Bethlehem area for the creation of a handicraft district. Moreover, to safeguard the integrity and the quality of the traditional items, the Platform watches carefully all the aspect of the production, from the raw materials to the quality controls. All the products are all hand made using genuine local raw materials. The collection of the Platform includes various elements, as olivewood, mother of pearl and ceramic products, realized by the Salesian Artistic Centre and the Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative; olive oil soap produced by Aseela; candles from Oasis Workshop; Ma’an Lil-Hayat wool-felted items and traditional embroidery from the Bethlehem Arab Women’s Union and Women Child’s Care Society. They represent a chance of having a better life for all the persons who benefit from the work of the Platform member, which are committed in helping the most vulnerable groups of the society.
The present web site has been produced within the project “NOI Giovani in Palestina – Nuove Opportunità di Integrazione e di impiego per i giovani vulnerabili palestinesi” – “Youth in Palestine – New Opportunities of Integration and Employment for young Palestinian boys and girls”, funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation- AICS.