A room overlooking the Nile with tens of tables each showcasing some of Palestine’s heritage through
handmade products, while hundreds of people gathered to purchase what resembled a faded Palestinian legacy; that was the scene at the Palestinian Women Union’s charity market.
At Dokki’s Arab Contractors Club, tens of Palestinian women gathered to showcase their handmade products that they had been working on the whole year. With different designs, the products reflect each Palestinian city’s heritage and uniqueness.
The showcased products varied from accessories, patterned clothes, scarves, bags, to painted pottery mugs. This went along with famous Palestinian food, including thyme pastries, olive oil, and biscuits.
Profit made from the annual market is used to support Palestinian students in Egyptian schools and universities, and fund Palestinians in need in Egypt. The annual market also funds the dorm where female students studying in Egyptian universities reside.
“We organise this annual event in order to promote our heritage,” said Abla Dajani, head of the Palestinian Women Union in Egypt. “This heritage is the only remaining thing after what Israel has stolen from us. They took the land, but they cannot take what is implanted in every house on that land.”
The one-day event witnessed performances by several Palestinian bands that sang heritage songs dating back to their ancestors.
All of the participants are part of the Palestinian Women’s Union in Egypt, which was established in 1963 with the aim of supporting Palestinian females who settled in Egypt since 1948.
According to Dajani, the annual market is widely accredited among the Egyptian community with hundreds of people coming every year in order to purchase the displayed products.
Standing beside her table, which is named “Al-Quds Accessories” (Jerusalem Accessories), wearing the famous Palestinian “abaya” was Qodseya Shehab El-Din, one of the participants. Shehab El-Din designs handmade accessories with the Palestinian flag’s colours. Having been born in Egypt did not stop the lady from learning the handicraft all her ancestors used to practice in Palestine.
Each of her designs reflect a city in Palestine through their colours and knots.
“I participate in every exhibition about Palestine,” Shehab EL-Din said, “we need to tell people about our forgotten heritage, even if we haven’t seen it ourselves.”
“This is not my main source of income, it’s more of a hobby. I love seeing women wearing Palestinian designs,” she added.