- Title: Muslim women spread Christmas cheer in Gaza
- Date: 30th December 2019
- Summary: BEIT LAHIA, GAZA (DECEMBER 29, 2019) (REUTERS) DOOR OPENING INTO ZEINA COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION / WOMEN MAKING HANDMADE SANTA-THEMED DOLLS VARIOUS OF WOMEN SEWING CHRISTMAS DOLL HANDS SEEN HOLDING DOLL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EXECUTIVE MANAGER OF ZEINA COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION, HANEEN ALSAMMAK, SAYING: "Our main purpose is to empower women socially and economically at Umm Al-Nasr village. Today, we are making Christmas toys." VARIOUS OF WOMAN CUTTING FABRIC VARIOUS OF WOMAN USING SEWING MACHINE VARIOUS OF CHRISTMAS PUPPETS AND DECORATIONS ON DISPLAY (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EXECUTIVE MANAGER OF ZEINA COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION, HANEEN ALSAMMAK, SAYING: "We are also proud to preserve the (style of) bedouin life and the culture of the village they (the workers) live in. Maybe it was hard in the beginning for women to go out and work, but now they can do that, and that's the challenge of empowering women." VARIOUS OF WOMEN MAKING SANTA-THEMED PUPPETS GAZA CITY, GAZA (DECEMBER 27, 2019) (REUTERS) SIGN READING (Arabic/English): "Zeina Cooperative" HANGING AMONG PUPPETS AT GAZA MARKET VARIOUS OF PUPPETS ON DISPLAY AT GAZA MARKET VARIOUS OF MOTHER AND CHILD PLAYING WITH CHRISTMAS PUPPET
- Embargoed: 13th January 2020 12:02
- Keywords: Beit Lahia Christmas season in Gaza Gaza Handmade products in Gaza Women empowerment in Gaza Women in Gaza Women make Santa-themed dolls
- Location: BEIT LAHIA AND GAZA CITY, GAZA
- City: BEIT LAHIA AND GAZA CITY, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA001BC61ZKL
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Muslim women in the Palestinian Gaza Strip have been hand-crafting gifts for the approaching Orthodox Christmas as part of a project to empower a traditional community.
Their Santa Claus dolls, toy Christmas trees and red-and-white puppets come into high demand over the holiday season in Gaza, Bethlehem and Italy.
Though most of Gaza's two million population are Muslim, around 1,000 are Christian, mostly Greek Orthodox, who celebrate Christmas on January 7.
The women are part of the Zeina Cooperative Association, working in a Gaza community that often restricts women's movement outside the home.
Haneen Alsammak, the association's executive manager, said the project had given women training in carpentry and tailoring, and enabled them to leave their homes to work and spread some Christmas cheer.
She believes that this effort is "a message of love towards Christians inside and outside Gaza".
Gaza is run by the Islamist Hamas movement, which is designated a terrorist group by the West and neighbouring Israel against which it has fought three wars in the past decade.
Citing security reasons, Israel restricts movement in and out of Gaza and maintains a naval blockade of the coastal strip where the economy suffers from high unemployment and poverty.
In 2018, only 26 percent of Gaza women participated in the workforce, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.
(Production: Mohammed Shanna, Roleen Tafakji)
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