A group of women from the Gaza Strip has been working to produce cosmetic products, using natural ingredients such as parsley, mint, nettle, watercress, and roses.
The project was funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in partnership with Oxfam International and the NGO Najd Development Forum.
The project involves some 40 Palestinian women. Some of them are farming and cultivating the plants needed for the production while others work in a small factory recently opened to produce the cosmetics.
Thanks to a newly launched project, some women in the poverty-stricken Gaza Strip have been offered jobs working to produce plant-based beauty products.
Rifqa al-Hamlawi, head of the Najd Development Forum, told Xinhua that the project aims at producing natural beauty products as well as creating job opportunities for local women.
“We are providing job opportunities for many Palestinian women who suffer from unemployment and poverty,” she added.
The project supervisor, Hassan Tammous, spends long hours a day training the women and helping them manufacture these products.
Tammous said “We have started with 15 types of natural plants available and very cheap in the Gaza Strip, such as mint, basil, purslane, nettle, watercress, and parsley. We are going to adopt a plan soon to use tree leaves such as figs, guava, and others. We have natural plants in the Gaza Strip that will enable us to manufacture 100 cosmetic products.”
Among the workers in the projects, about 20 women were trained on how to grow herbal, medicinal, and aromatic plants, and how to harvest and store them according to international standards.
Another group of 20 women was trained on extracting oils from these plants, the aqueous extracts used as essential ingredients in making these cosmetic items.
They are able to produce 15 kinds of products now, including shampoo, conditioner, creams, hair oils, and others.
Nevin al-Khudari, a woman from the Gaza Strip, expressed her happiness in joining this “pioneering” project, which helped her learn a new skill.
Nevin said: “We extract oils from aromatic plants through this project to manufacture cosmetics such as shampoos, creams for the face and hands and make sanitizers for the coronavirus pandemic. Simply, this project is a pioneering and developmental project for women.”
The case is not much different for Doula Marouf, a Palestinian farmer from Beit Lahia, located in the north of the Gaza Strip. The 53-year-old mother of 12 cultivates aromatic, herbal, and natural plants.
Dawlat Marouf woman from Beit Lahia town said “We grow roses, rosemary, mint, basil, and henna. I have joined this project. My mission is to provide the plants to make cosmetics from natural plants.”
“In the past, I could hardly make 5 U.S. dollars a day, but today, because of this project, I earn about 30 U.S. dollars a day, which helps me provide money for my family,” the woman told Xinhua.
The women produce between 200-500 packages of cosmetics daily. These products are marketed through social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, in addition to some pharmacies.
According to the project’s organizers, the price of each package is 5 to 8 U.S. dollars.
Xinhua News Agency correspondents reporting from Gaza, Palestine.