Gazala Collective

Supporting Cross-Cultural Weaving Traditions
Bedouin Community Of Central Negev Desert, Israel
Project Story
The Gazala Collective is composed of Bedouin and Jewish artisans; weavers, spinners, dyers, shepherds, and farmers. As a commission-based collective, they produce a wide range of fine museum-quality textiles. In the spirit of cross-cultural unity, Gazala Collective uses an ethical, environmentally sustainable process which supports economic empowerment through a cultural flourishing of traditional textile arts in the Middle East. Their wool is sourced directly from camel and sheep flocks of Bedouin shepherds. The animals’ diets are dependent on wild rain-fed plants. The wool is harvested, hand-spun and dyed by Razala artisans all by hand. Their work model is based on redistributing wealth, by providing fair wages wherein the majority of the cost of each textile goes directly to the artist.
Gazala Collective is setting up foundational steps to take Bedouin women out of unemployment, or to be forced to struggle to find sparse low wage opportunities, to support their families. Providing these women with an opportunity to revive the textile tradition in their own homes is allowing them for the first time to work in a safe space, without needing to be chaperoned by men in their clans, who need to accompany them to find jobs outside of their villages. “It is a gigantic leap of empowerment... The only way our vision can materialize [our goals] is with the economic support of the process and Purpose Earth is providing that foundation.”

“Our work, with Purpose Earth’s support, is a real step in reviving aspects of this way of life so that they are not merely preserved as relics in museums, books, and legends of the people, but on the ground, in this time, in this world, by the hands of the people collaborating from opposite ends of real cultural and geographical divides.”

Elan Gerzon, Founder and Weaver

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Project Impact and reach to date:
5 Bedouin women farmers supported and employed
6 Bedouin and Israeli women weavers trained and employed
3 communities, historically in conflict, engaging in cultural collaboration
Next generation of children now connecting with their cultural heritage
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