- Title: A gloomy Christmas in store for Gaza handicraft workshop
- Date: 2nd December 2020
- Summary: BEIT LAHIYA, GAZA (DECEMBER 1, 2020) (REUTERS) WOMAN LIGHTING CHRISTMAS CANDLE VARIOUS OF WOMAN WORKING ON SEWING MACHINE TO MAKE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS WOMEN AT WORKSHOP VARIOUS OF WOMAN SHOWING CHRISTMAS DECORATION (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EXECUTIVE MANAGER OF COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION ZEINA WHICH AIMS TO EMPOWER WOMEN IN GAZA STRIP, HANEEN ALSAMMAK, SAYING: "We were affected by the pandemic, we used to export some of our products to Bethlehem and European countries but this year we had a problem exporting our products to the international markets. Last year, there were christmas bazars, this year there are no bazars." VARIOUS OF WOMEN WORKING ON PRODUCTS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EXECUTIVE MANAGER OF COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION ZEINA WHICH AIMS TO EMPOWER WOMEN IN GAZA STRIP, HANEEN ALSAMMAK, SAYING: "We have turned from an international market to a local one, we deliver our work based on orders, and we have tweaked some of our products to go with the market under Corona(virus pandemic)." VARIOUS OF WOMAN CUTTING WOOD IN SHAPE OF CHRISTMAS TREE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PRODUCT DESIGNER COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION ZEINA, LAILA TAYEH, SAYING: "The coronavirus pandemic affected our economy very much, sales have stopped. Our work has decreased, we are working on part time shifts." WOMAN SHOWING DOLL IN CHRISTMAS COSTUME VARIOUS OF WOMAN WORKING ON PIECE OF WOOD
- Embargoed: 16th December 2020 11:08
- Keywords: COVID-19 Christmas Gaza Handicrafts Holidays Palestinians
- Location: BEIT LAHIYA, GAZA
- City: BEIT LAHIYA, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Middle East
- Reuters ID: LVA001D7BDX79
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: It's not going to be a very merry Christmas this year for a handicraft workshop in Islamist-run Gaza that has been an unlikely source of gifts for the holiday.
Coronavirus lockdowns have made it difficult for the Zeina Cooperative Association to export its hand-crafted Christmas gifts from Gaza to Europe and to the Palestinian town of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
About 24 Palestinian women work at the facility, making miniature Christmas trees, red-and-white puppets and Santa Claus marionettes.
But sales are down by half after a holiday boom a year ago, scuppering expansion plans and changing business strategy.
"We have turned from an international market to a local one," said Haneen Alsammak, executive manager of the cooperative, which aims to empower women in the Gaza Strip.
In addition to Christmas-themed toys and puppets, it also offers gifts to match Muslim holidays. Some of its puppets are used for educating children about the pandemic and to promote non-violence in the community.
But with sales down, "the girls come in once every two days", said Laila Tayeh, a product designer.
Gaza has logged nearly 21,000 coronavirus cases and 111 deaths, mostly since August, amid concern of a wider outbreak in the densely populated enclave of 2 million people, many of them poor.
Some 1,000 Christians, mostly Greek Orthodox who celebrate Christmas in January, live in Gaza, which is run by the Islamist Hamas movement.
(Production: Mohammed Shana, Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh)
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