The Arab Women’s Union in Bethlehem is a non-profit charitable, social and cultural society founded in 1947. The Embroidery Center began in 1968 with the goal of providing work for needy women and to preserve traditional embroidery skills, an integral part of Palestinian culture and heritage. The embroidery patterns are drawn from the ornate designs of traditional Palestinian dress.
The women who embroider are training at the Bethlehem center and are, thereafter, provided thread and other supplies so they may work from home. This enables them to balance work alongside care of their families and homes.
Work is delivered to the center once it is complete; the women are paid and return home with new orders to do. The finishing, washing, ironing and pricing is all done in the center, where employees prepare and finish the pieces for market.