From 25th November until 10th December 2011, I will be undertaking a 16 day sponsored silence to raise $1000/£650 in support of a women& 39;s cooperative sewing factory in the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah in Palestine.
The sewing factory seeks to empower the Palestinian women of Nabi Saleh to earn an income for their families in a dignified and socially acceptable way. It will be the home of a sewing and embroidery cooperative that will provide a safe, uni -sex work environment that provides job opportunities for women.
I visited Nabi Saleh in 2010 and was inspired by the determination and commitment of the women, led by resident of Nabi Saleh, Manal Tamimi, to create a sewing factory for the village.
Manal told me that for the women of the village, many of whom have had no access to formal education and few opportunities to work, the factory is an incredible opportunity for empowerment and financial support for the women and their families.
One of the reasons I was so inspired by the people of Nabi Saleh is that lack of access to education and employment are not the only problems faced by the village.
The men, women and children of Nabi Saleh live in the shadow of the military occupation of the West Bank by Israel, and are committed to non-violent resistance through a weekly village demonstration and regular community events that bring together Palestinians, Israelis and international activists to unite in the interests of a peaceful resolution to the occupation. As a result, they are the regular target of the military forces, with residents - including children - regularly being intimidated, assaulted and arrested.
Nabi Saleh’s cooperative has already successfully secured funding for, and purchased 4 new electric sewing machines. Each machine costs $1000 and can provide $7000 of income to a woman each year.
Your donation will contribute to the $1000 needed for the factory& 39;s start-up costs, including furniture and equipment that will allow the factory to begin operations.
But if that& 39;s not enough of an incentive, you might just want to sponsor me to shut up for just over two weeks.
Whatever your reason, please consider giving some of your hard-earned to the Nabi Saleh Women& 39;s Sewing Factory. It& 39;s the best present you& 39;ll give this year, I swear to that - or rather, I would, if I could speak....
You can also follow my progress over at my blog http://16daysofsilence.wordpress.com.