When she graduated from high school, Samaher was financially unable to continue her education.
She found herself living at home, without a way to contribute financially to the household. Her three sisters were embroidering for Sulafa. "Why not join them?" Samaher thought. "I'm talented, I know how to draw and embroider." Since then, Sulafa embroidery has been the sole source of income that allows the four sisters to support their elderly parents.
"Embroidery is very essential in our lives. We feel happy when we finish each product. The best day is payday. On that day, all four of us go to the market. We buy all kinds of fruit, vegetables, and all the things that women like to buy."
The war of 2014 added to the importance of Sulafa. At the close of the war, nearly 15 per cent of Sulafa's embroiderers were displaced and over 30 per cent were hosting others in their homes. In response, UNRWA reaffirmed its commitment to Sulafa with a three year export development plan. This expansion will allow more women to help support their families skillfully and beautifully.
Many of Sulafa's 360 embroiderers spent the winter of 2014/2015 studying design and quality assurance, introducing new products to translate Gaza's traditions to modern life. Sulafa recorded its best-ever sales for the first six months of 2015. After 65 years, Sulafa is an inter-generational as well as an international sharing platform of Palestinian culture.