VIENNA, 17 November 2016 – Palestinian craftswomen and craftsmen from “Bethlehem Treasures”, a cluster supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), are, for the first time, selling their hand-made decorations and souvenirs in two Christmas markets in Vienna this year.
Craftspeople from the Bethlehem Treasures cluster will be showcasing their products at the Schönbrunn Palace and “Altes AKH” University campus Christmas markets from 19 November to 26 December and 12 November to 23 December, respectively. The products being sold include olive wood carvings such as nativity sets, mangers and cribs, as well as Christmas ornaments, home decor items, mother of pearl decorations and handmade olive oil soaps.
The cluster consists of 30 members, 75 per cent of whom are craftswomen entrepreneurs. All members are based in the Bethlehem area and specialize in traditional handicraft techniques. In total, the cluster members employ more than 200 people.
The Bethlehem Treasures cluster members make use of local and natural materials, and put an emphasis on quality and durability. Palestinian culture and heritage is a primary source of inspiration but another important influence is the town of Bethlehem, recognized since the 2nd century as the birthplace of Jesus and, as such, one of the strongest symbols of Christmas and Christianity.
This cluster is the result of a UNIDO project, funded by the European Union and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, which supports the development of clusters in cultural and creative industries, increases their competitiveness and facilitates local economic development in seven countries in the Mediterranean region.
The project seeks to improve capacities of local craftswomen and men and increase the creativity of small and medium enterprises by providing appropriate technical assistance and encouraging cluster members to develop distinctive collections and techniques of production in order to increase access to international markets.
For more information, please contact:
UNIDO Creative Palestine Programme
UNIDO Creative Mediterranean Programme