This March, I visited Amman to work with Basma Nazer, from Hebron, who has agreed to be the Pht co-ordinator for Jordan. Basma had arranged visits to embroidery groups that have shown an interest in being part of the project.
The first successful visit was to UNRWA where we met Maha El Jilan from Ramla. Maha was very happy to sew for Pht. She works from home with her sister and brought some of her lovely work to show.
The second successful visit was to Orient Spirit Development. This is a vocational training center for people with disabilities and special needs. http://vimeo.com/50793278. The sewing done there is not cross stitch but applique which lends itself well to village and country scenes. Nihad Muheisen from Ramallah hosted the visit and was very excited about the prospect of joining in with the tapestry project’
There was also a successful visit to Baaka Refugee Camp with our Patron, Ghada Karmi. Um Ismail from Ramla runs the embroidery group here and we met her and her team of ladies. Our group was welcomed with tea and biscuits in full Palestinian style. As with all the groups we showed the Keiskamma Story and explained the aims and objectives of the Pht. Um Ismail was very keen to help us and for her group to be part of the project.
Barbara Haj Hassan who is an American married to a Jordanian, has lived in Amman for many years. She found us a very exciting contact, Rebecca Salti. She is a friend of Barbara’s and has been involved in projects such as ‘The Bani Hamida Weaving Project’ and ‘Women’s Empowerment’
Rebecca also supports the silver jewellery of the ‘Dana Village Project’
Rebecca arranged for me to meet Widad Kamel Kawar, from Bethlehem, who is a well-known Palestinian, famous for her collection of Thobes [traditional dresses] and other decorative apparel which she has been gathering for over 50 years. http://www.arabheritage.org/
Widad was very complementary, encouraging and supportive of the aims of Pht.
After I left Jordan and returned to UK, Basma was introduced to a resident of Jerash Refugee Camp, where some of the poorest Palestinians currently live. Jerash camp was set up as an “emergency” camp in 1968 for 11,500 Palestine refugees and displaced persons who left the Gaza Strip as a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It is known locally as Gaza camp. We are hopeful that there will be embroiderers in Jerash who would like to stitch for the tapestry.