Hadas Lahav, who directs Sindyanna of Galilee, initiated the course. Now she will help the women market their work. “Every market we open,” she said, “and every customer we get, paves the way for a new product and new activity. Our olive oil paved the way for olive-oil soap, and the soap paved the way for za’atar, and the za’atar has paved it for baskets. Sindyanna is not a charity organization. We want to build a new society. This means developing abilities and opportunities for women, so that they can become a productive force, capable of coping with the social and economic challenges that face them.”
Ronit Penn, who directed the course, talked about the common work: “This was a basic course: 12 sessions of work with shoots and another 12 sessions of more advanced work with fronds. At first 20 women came, because the beginning is always fun. We know this well from the world of children, when many start studying piano. Then comes a moment of crisis. In our case, five got work in agriculture, and we gave them our blessing. Another left because she became pregnant. Eight more did not stick it out, and we wound up with six. We are still at the phase of technique. We’ve learned the discipline of the profession. Once this is firmly in place, we’ll be able to start learning basketry art as well. Again I’ll bring in music for comparison. There are many rhythms here. There’s a melody, and we need lots of practice. Every basket is like a melody. After you’ve learned the basics, you can start doing variations.”
Ismahan Abu Hilal, a student who presented many of her works at the exhibit, was more laconic. She said that she came to the course just to be with her sister and did not expect much. Now she’s one of the six graduates, embarking on a new journey.
The next phase will be marketing. The women will attend an entrepreneurial workshop on merging into the local market. They hope, with the help of Sindyanna, to get orders for their baskets from abroad. So, reader, what are you waiting for?