Mother’s Day is less than one week away so we have been running a special series highlighting our producers who are also moms. According to the National Retail Federation, Mother’s Day is the second largest consumer holiday behind the winter holidays (Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza). So, we are excited to be able to share with you some of the individual stories of the women who make the products that you purchase from us. We hope that you choose to buy a gift for the special women in your life that will bring the world together.
Today’s story features Basima Atyani who is part of the women’s cooperative who rolls Maftoul (Couscous) for Canaan Fair Trade. You can purchase a beautiful gift basket called the Canaan Harvest Basket – a wonderful gift in honor of your mom and Basima too!
A self-taught high school graduate, Basima got married when she was in tenth grade and later studied all subjects on her own to take the high school graduation test called Tawjihi. A proud mother of five boys and two girls, Basima says she would rather not eat than not to send her kids to school. This is why she makes sure that her home is completely self-sustainable. Along with growing all kinds of vegetables, Basima raises sheep and makes cheese for the people in the village.
An expert in time management, this woman can multi task like no other. As the treasurer for the Anza Women’s Club she has her hands full with different projects that bring work and education opportunities for the women of her village. A member of the Canaan Fair Trade women’s cooperative, she works on making Maftoul during the summer and works as a seamstress the rest of the year. “I learned how to sew when my husband was not getting paid much as a teacher. I started making traditional dresses and then moved to embroidery and handcrafts. Some women ask me where I find the time but I say there is always time. It is a question of organizing what you do with it. I do all this and I have time to meet my social obligations.
On top of all the work she does, Basima somehow finds time to volunteer. She is one of only two women members of the projects committee in Anza’s village council where she offers her advice as to what the community needs. “I was so happy when I brought the idea of a children’s park to the council and they got excited about it. It was just a thought but today the park is a reality and the kids play there instead of the streets. I feel so proud that I was part of the force that made this happen.
This is exactly how she says she feels when she sees her hand rolled Maftoul in the nice boxes Canaan Fair Trade exports. “When I saw our Maftoul displayed in these nice boxes in Canaan’s showroom I felt that I could fly. This work has made me feel bigger, supported, and most of all appreciated. We always think here that the world does not see us so when I see that people know about our work and value it I start to feel really powerful and able. Women here, we do not want handouts and charities; we want to assert ourselves and our identities through work. This is why I have always wanted to be part of the Palestine Fair Trade Association, because the benefits we get are the product of our hard work. I take pride in that. When I sit down with myself, I feel at ease because I always made ends meet, even in the hardest of times.
Thanks to Canaan Fair Trade for sharing Basima’s story with us.