BFTA works with a number of organizations that support disabled artisans in making beautiful products from recycled materials. Learn about their stories below!
The Al Basma (Smile) Center Recycled Paper
The Al Basma (Smile) Center is a very special organization that works with over forty youth and young adults who have moderate intellectual disabilities. Based in Beit Sahour, Al Basma’s work extends into the Bethlehem area towns and refugee camps. Al Basma seeks to improve the quality of life of its students by helping them participate in the local community. In this way, it serves as a bridge of peace between individuals with disabilities and individuals without disabilities. At the Center, emphasis is given to programs that teach the essentials of daily life. Students learn skills in social interaction as well as personal hygiene and self-care. At Al Basma, participants also have the opportunity to develop and master handicraft skills that give them a sense of pride, confidence, independence, and artisanship. BFTA partners with Al Basma in the area of handmade paper production. Participants in this program collect old paper and transform it into beautiful new paper used for greeting cards, notebooks, personalized cards, and other unique items. If you have a special event like a wedding or birthday party coming up, please consider ordering invitations specially made at Al Basma. Visit our online store to view the beautiful paper products made by the youth and young adults at Al Basma!
The Oasis Workshop for People with Special Needs provides the opportunity for adults with mental disabilities to contribute to the local community and engage in meaningful work. The Oasis Center was founded in 1998 in Beit Sahour based upon the belief that every individual, whether disabled or not, has value and can contribute their own gifts and talents to the benefit of society. The Oasis Center provides a space in which people of differing intellectual capacity, religion, gender, and socioeconomic background can come together and create high-quality, recycled paper products. It functions under the auspices of the Health Works Committee, a leading Palestinian NGO devoted to promoting a free Palestinian society that enjoys comprehensive, equitable, and well-developed health rights. The Oasis Workshop fulfills an urgent need in society as many people with special needs are often neglected and unable to reach their full potential. Oasis works to counter this trend by working with local schools, universities, and organizations to display the work of their producers. This helps break down barriers and integrate the artisans into society. The Oasis Center also provides a wide variety of support services to program participants. Each day at Oasis begins with a time to listen to music and greet one another. This creates a warm and inclusive environment. BFTA partners with the Oasis Center in the area of recycled paper by featuring these beautiful products on our online store. Your purchase of Oasis products ensures the ongoing sustainability of the Oasis Workshop, allows the Oasis artisans to sell their work with dignity, and contributes to the founding of other similar workshops throughout Palestine. Please visit our online store and consider purchasing a handmade, recycled paper product from Oasis today!
The Rishmawi sisters’ work began in 2003 when Sawsan Rishmawi decided to take a course in recycled glass and silver jewelry at Dar Al-Nadwa Center in Bethlehem. As the political and economic situation made it difficult for her family to live off of her husband’s income alone, Sawsan wanted to find a way to help support her family. After learning how to make jewelry herself, she taught her sisters Fahn, Samia, Layali, and Salam how to make products from recycled glass as well. Today, the five sisters work together in their homes to support their families with their handicraft. They collect discarded glass bottles, cut shapes out of the glass, and solder the pieces together to make nativity scenes, angels, candle holders, and many other beautiful products. Creativity is an essential part of the Rishmawi sisters’ work. Their products vary between traditional art and modernized items. Improving quality and creating challenging pieces of art are their main concern as they aim to keep their products new and exciting. Their designs are very beautiful, and their use of recycled glass reflects the creativity and resourcefulness of these women. The Rishmawi sisters’ creativity, dedication, and love can be seen in each carefully designed item. Consider making a purchase to support the Rishmawi sisters’ ongoing work to care for their families as they turn waste into treasures!