The merchandise in the Achoti Fair Trade Shop is produced by hundreds of women entrepreneurs from diverse cultural groups in Israel. In addition to the many products made by women in cooperatives, a versatile array of creative works is produced by independent entrepreneurs. The social-economic cooperatives were established in order to allow women entrepreneurs and artists to translate their skills and talents – together with other women in the field – into professional, creative ventures. Achoti – For Women in Israel has been the foremost founder of social-economic cooperatives in Israel, providing a practical solution for entrepreneurs who are financially unable to launch an enterprise independently. All products in the shop have been carefully selected, and are produced and marketed in keeping with the globally accepted principles of fair trade.
Anat Ben Ezra is a courageous entrepreneur who changed her life dramatically by opening her own business in 2008 “to bottle the magic of handmade jams and liqueurs like those made by our grandmothers”. Anat founded a boutique factory for making jams and liqueurs in small batches, using production techniques that leave in all the good qualities and flavors of the fruit. Jams and liqueurs are made daily with fresh fruit, leaves, and roots, always in small-batch processes. By applying the right techniques and minimizing external additives, Anat “bottles nature” – with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. The factory produces 60 types of jam and liqueur in distinctive and exciting flavors, with unusual combinations such as oranges and passion fruit, lychee and strawberries, and grapes and ginger, alongside the classic apricot, plum, strawberry, pear, and other jams.
Arous Elbahar (Bride of the Sea) for Women in Jaffa is a nonprofit that seeks to empower Jaffa’s Arab women economically and socially, increase their participation in the workforce and community, and advocate on behalf of their rights. The organization, set within the community, serves as a supportive and empowering space for women, enabling them to attain their goals through community projects that suit the needs of Arab women living in a mixed city. The Achoti Free Trade Shop carries dolls that are hand made by the women of Arous Elbahar as part of their Creative Communities Project.
Awareness for You (Min Ajliki) was founded in 2003 in Kafr Qara by Arab women intent on bringing about positive social and economic change, and improving the lives of Arab women in their town and region by activities on a community, family, and personal level. Members of this nonprofit aspire to an egalitarian society that is free of discrimination based on gender, age, religion, or nationality. Members of Awareness for You seek to involve every woman in advancing society and, in particular, promoting the status of women. The organization offers a broad range of projects, but common to all is a supportive environment and empowerment of women in Arab society. Among the products made at home by the women: honey loaves, olives, olive oil soaps, bookmarks, embroidered purses, scarves, and more. Awareness for You (Min Ajliki) was awarded the Speaker of the Knesset’s “Quality of Life Prize” in 2007.
Corinth, a chocolate producer, is a cooperative effort of Shekulo Tov (see below) and chocolatier Sharon Appler-Yaniv. As part of the Shekulo Tov group, Corinth provides occupational rehabilitation services for the Israeli Ministries of Health and Defense to 120 Israelis from the south who are in need of psychiatric rehabilitation. The factory provides a normal, productive work environment, training workers in vocational skills and catalyzing rehabilitation for those who participate. The program operates on an inclusive model, and provides a large number of internal and external trainings, as well as supervision for those who enter the free market. Many types of chocolate are produced by Corinth, all hand-made, while an emphasis is placed on teamwork, skills-training, instilling good work habits, and conveying expertise in the production of high-quality chocolate.
Desert Embroidery [Rikmat Hamidbar]: Association for the Improvement of Women’s Status was established in Laqiya in 1996 with the goal of improving the status of Bedouin women in Bedouin society and in Israel as a whole. Desert Embroidery is the first Bedouin women’s nonprofit in the Negev, and is managed and operated by local women, who are sensitive to the needs and problems of their community. The association, based on a traditional, home-centered embroidery industry that can be done at home without disrupting daily tasks, provides work and income to the members. The women embroider in their free time and deliver their hand-made products to the center once a week. A core of women takes responsibility for design and development of the product, provision of embroidery materials, worker training, product marketing, and management. Another group fabricates the basic items and ensures quality control over the finished products.
Ehete Center – Ehete [“my sister” in Amharic], located in Kiryat Gat, grew out of an economic initiative of Ethiopian women skilled in the Ethiopian arts. Ehete serves as a workplace and cultural space for dozens of women of Ethiopian descent who live in southern Israel. Ehete’s goals include recognition of the cultural value of these women’s skills, creation of an economic alternative, and provision of a forum for commercial advancement and personal empowerment in order to reduce the marginalization of women. The women of Ehete create ceramic pieces, including sculptures and traditional kitchen items, woven straw baskets using traditional techniques, and Ethiopian embroidery. Achoti – For Women in Israel founded the Ehete Center and takes an active role in maintaining it as a workplace and cultural center to help women of Ethiopian descent achieve economic independence and preserve their cultural traditions. Ehete enables them to showcase a variety of handicrafts and turn these into income-generating products, while it legally protects the artists and their work through copyrights.
Galina Sarduboi Knits is a line of knit clothing. Galina immigrated to Israel from Russia eleven years ago, bringing her knitting machine with her. From age 6, she was taught the art of knitting by her grandmother. She currently lives in Tel Aviv and began earning money from her skill by selling her unique clothing to stores. Galina views knitting as a space without limits: “Every time I invent a new method of knitting, I feel as if I am reinventing my life experience…”
Ishonim is a publishing house devoted to children’s books, with the goal of encouraging parents to read with their children. Ishonim reflects our views of education, children’s well-being, parent-child relations, and the contribution to the child of reading together.
Israeli and Palestinian Women Create Peace is a joint vocational project of the Negev Institute for Peace Strategies and Shorouq Society for Women. In this project, Palestinian and Israeli women together create and market products that integrate contemporary design with the traditional embroidery arts. Among the products are high-quality, embroidered yoga bags, scarves, handbags, and purses.
Shekulo Tov is an organization that works toward equal opportunity for the mentally handicapped through activities that integrate them vocationally and socially in the community. Among the products displayed in the shop is a stand by Shekulo Tov called “Twice-Told Tales” in which used books are sold at a discount.
Sidreh was founded in 1991 by Bedouin women from Laqiya in the Negev with the goal of advancing the status of women in Bedouin society, both economically and personally, and preserving the Bedouin arts of spinning and weaving wool that have been passed down for generations. The production of hand-woven products, primarily for home use, enables the women of Sidreh to earn a livelihood. The wool, from local Negev sheep, is spun by hand using a spindle, hand dyed with synthetic dyes imported from abroad, and woven on traditional looms. In the past, natural dyes were used in keeping with Bedouin tradition, but this allowed only five basic colors. As the project grew, volunteers from abroad introduced imported synthetic dyes, which improved the quality and durability of the dye and provided a broader range of color. The products – carpets, cushion covers, handbags, tapestries, decorative products, etc. – are sold in the Achoti Fair Trade Shop in many designs and sizes.
Sindyanna of Galilee is a nonprofit that actively promotes the concepts of “business for peace” and fair trade in Israel. Sindiana of the Galilee products are manufactured by Jewish and Arab women who work side by side in Kfar Kana. Sindiana promotes modern agriculture and the employment of women in the Arab sector. Sindiana operates in accordance with the principles of fair trade and combines business activities with social development and building bridges between communities.
Tulip Winery, a boutique winery, was founded in 2003 by the Itzhaki family, and was born of a great love of wine and of people. The winery, which integrates the production of quality wine with social responsibility, is located on a mountainside in Kfar Tikva, a small, pastoral community for people with special needs. The winery works toward enabling community members to develop and realize their potential. This wonderful fusion of the community vision and the family’s desire to produce wine gave rise to this exciting model in the wine industry, which employs community members and provides a business platform to integrate into the workforce. Innovation and creativity are fundamental at the Tulip Winery. The winemaker is charged with the task of producing wines and choosing the best grape varieties, which produce unique and fascinating blends.
Turning the Tables works for the personal and financial empowerment of women who are breaking out of the cycle of prostitution and sex trafficking. Thousands of young girls, boys, and women are caught up in prostitution in Israel. Turning the Tables focuses on the vocational rehabilitation of the women, providing a comprehensive and supportive program that emphasizes two aspects – professional development and self-expression. Key to the organization is a multi-dimensional fashion studio based on the individual needs of women leaving a life of prostitution; this model is designed for replication in other cities. Since its registration as a nonprofit in 2011, about a hundred women have used the services of Turning the Tables. The studios provide a venue for training – sewing and pattern-making, digital marketing, and business development – as well as a warm and multi-functional center for rehabilitation, learning about and claiming rights, and support in a range of areas of life.
Zainab Abu Jarbia, resident of Segev Shalom, combines Bedouin symbols and motifs in her artwork, including embroidery-like decorations and embroidered strips which are integrated into her creations. Zainab received recognition as an artist when her artwork was featured at the Venice Ceramic Biennale in Italy. As an extraordinary Bedouin woman and artist, Zainab encourages Bedouin women to emerge from their homes and reach for their dreams.