- Title: WEST BANK: Palestinian all-woman food company serves up success
- Date: 21st July 2011
- Summary: VARIOUS OF DISPLAY OF 'THIMAR' PRODUCTS
- Embargoed: 5th August 2011 13:00
- Location: West bank, West bank
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Business,Economic News,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA4T5G4LW1UD4KWRK4QIFPQU9R8
- Story Text: A group of Palestinian women have set up a production and distribution company specialising in traditionally-prepared foods. The company's founders and all its employees, from cooks to the sales manager, are women.
Eitaf Sadeq carefully places sliced tomatoes out in the sun to dry them -- sprinkling them with salt. Her simple, home-made dried tomatoes have now become her recipe for success.
With Palestinian men increasingly finding it difficult to find work because of Israeli restrictions on movement of people and goods in and out of the Palestinian territories, many women have become breadwinners.
In the Jenin district, the women-run company Thimar has engaged dozens of women to make traditional home-made foods, such as dried tomatoes and za'tar - a mixture of herbs and spices.
"Our grandparents used to do things this way, but these days they do not use this traditional method. Nowadays people are once again asking for food to be prepared this way. We bring tomatoes and we dry them for three to four days. Then we put olive oil on them and put them in bottles and sell them to customers," Sadeq said.
Once the product is ready, it is distributed and sold by two women, Taghreed Abbas and Sawsan Sawafta, who set up Thimar.
Abbas said a drive to set up something of her own led her to launch the enterprise. Her firm employs more than 50 women.
"I wanted to make my own project even if it is simple. I met my partner Sawsan and we established our project which is Thimar company. We make natural products and sell them in the market," she said.
Sawafta said she found it difficult to find a full-time job as an employee, and hence turned to setting up her own business.
"I graduated twelve years ago and I tried to work in (the ministry) of education. I could not have a real job. I only worked during the elections. Then I met Taghreed when I was a volunteer in Burqin women's centre and we worked together in a project by CARE international organisation for making cheese. So we decided to have our own business to earn money," Sawafta said.
Palestinian women's organisations say that the company's success is encouraging for other women would-be entrepreneurs.
Set up five years ago, Thimar represents a huge change in a conservative society, where only 2.4 percent of registered Palestinian businesses are owned by women.
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