Zeina and Yasser: a Palestinian entrepreneur shattered dream


Helana was excited and could not sleep: her dream was about to come true. Her beloved dolls “Zeina” and “Yasser” will become a market reality.

The dolls online debut just took place and orders were coming in.

Few hours after launching the product online, Helana’s dream was turned into a nightmare when she received a frantic phone call in the middle of the night.

Yasser & Zeina.
Yasser & Zeina.

Helana picked up the phone and fell to the ground; her life time dream was shattered by the Israeli occupation forces.

The full production run of the dolls “Zeina”  and “Yasser” were confiscated along with all fabrics and materials used in making the dolls. In total, 1700 dolls were confiscated.

Rotem Factory, one of PICTI’s* incubated startups, was raided by Israeli occupation forces a few hours after online launch of their two Palestinian dolls, “Zeina” and “Yasser”.

Yasser wearing a koffeya and Zeina wearing a traditional embroidered dress.

Helana Rasem, owner of Rotem Factory, was one of over 300 aspiring entrepreneurs who received, mentoring, coaching, and funding from PICTI through the Palestine Innovation Initiative, “PI2” program in 2013.

She received a full package of business development services, marketing, advertisement and promotional and financial development services, as well as a grant totaling US $6,000 to support the development, design and packaging of their Palestinian Dolls Yasser & Zeina.

Rotem Factory, a Tulkarem based business was established in 2010. The Factory is currently home to six employees, five of whom are women.

Zeina & Yasser.
Zeina & Yasser.

PICTI stands by Rotem Factory and condemns the confiscation of their assets and demands the Israeli occupation forces to return all dolls and materials.

PICTI believes in the economic development and state-building of the Occupied Palestinian Territories and will continue to support and stand with inspirational entrepreneurs like Helana Rasem.

*The Palestine Information and Communications Technology Incubator (PICTI), is an independent Palestinian organization based in Ramallah with a branch in Gaza, which was built to revitalize and sustain-ably grow the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Palestine. In an effort to support the Palestinian people in becoming dynamic participants in the global spread, adoption and utilization of projects with tangible results, PICTI assists entrepreneurs to commercialize their ideas by designing, developing, implementing and promoting those startups that will support the growth of entrepreneurial business ventures by providing them with an integrated package of world-class business development services aimed at generating lively enterprises.