Running from one task to another, Sireen Nijeem is always on the move. Between her visits to artisans in the camps surrounding Bethlehem and her home-based workshop, the social entrepreneur never stops.
“To be honest with you: I am really against fast fashion but I also don’t want to dress like an old woman!” Sireen explains with laughter when asked how she came up with the idea behind Mandil Nadia.
A social entreprise based in the heart of Palestine, Mandil Nadia is revisiting the traditional Mandil, a piece of great cultural significance for Palestinian women. “Traditionally hand-embroidered, it was used as a way to tell each woman’s unique story, reflecting her religion, her age, and special life occasions,” Sireen explains.
Having inherited from her grandmother’s handmade pieces, she decided to revive this beautiful tradition, while empowering other women in the process. “I didn’t want Mandil Nadia to be just another brand. I wanted it to be a symbol of Palestine’s authentic and timeless beauty.”
Sireen collaborates with local artisans from various camps, providing them with her designs to craft unique pieces. Her creations, including the Mandil and traditional abaya, quickly gained appreciation across Palestine.
“I now have a team of ten women crafting these pieces and I hope to grow the team even more,” she explains, stressing the importance of providing women in Palestine with a meaningful and dignified means of livelihood. She also uses her entreprise’s success to collaborate with Shadi W ANA, an organisation that supports children in orphanages in the West Bank.
Sireen now has plans to move to mass production, including through a line of shirts embroidered with Palestinian poetry. “I want to share the story of Mandil Nadia and a small piece of Palestine with the entire world!”
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“Never be afraid to pursue your dreams and aspirations. If you have something special in your heart and believe in your abilities, success is within your reach.”
Cre@tive is an EU-funded project aimed at boosting creativity as a key aspect for increasing economic opportunities of the MSMEs by creating links between the traditional sectors and the creative industries (crafts, design, culture, etc.). Targeted at some 100 culturally and creatively engaged individuals and MSMEs, the project fosters value chains and business alliances among MSMEs in Mediterranean textile, footwear and leather sectors in order to encourage the creation of new products and business growth.
TANDEM Media Awards
EU Neighbours South is launching the 2nd edition of the TANDEM Media Awards, a regional media contest, funded by the European Union (EU). The competition is based on the concept of collaborations between pairs. The theme of TANDEM Media Awards is culture, an area in which the EU is active through different types of support and contributions.