Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Against the odds

We travelled up into the Galilee hills to visit a factory! It was situated in an industrial park and seemed ordinary enough, but behind it lay a fascinating story of a woman fighting against the odds.

Gamila is a Druze lady, and in her childhood she learned all about the medical and healing qualities of herbs from her family. She put this knowledge into good effect by making soap using the various herbs. It started in the family home, but gradually it became a business, as Gamila wanted her children to go to good schools and have a chance in life.

As a woman she encountered much opposition; her fellow villagers felt her place was in the home, rather than running a business, and she had to suffer their taunts. In the end, however, she succeeded, and her soap has hit the luxury end of the market and exports all around the world. Her family have benefitted (her son was the first from the village to go to university), and so has the community.

It was good to visit the factory and see that Moslems and Christians, Jews and Druze, were all employed. As part of its procurement policy, the Hotel is going to use Gamila’s soap. It is also buying its olive oil from Sindyanna, a fair trade company based in the Galilee and is at present sourcing bed ‘throws’ and rugs through Sunbula.

International Womens' Day, 8 March 2011

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