Crafting a new future: The sewing and craft classes organized by UNIFIL’s Republic of Korea contingent

19 February 2016


A rustle of paper accompanies the murmur of friendly conversation in the sewing and hand crafts class at Shabriha in south Lebanon. Today the group of local women are using Napkin Art and Decoupage to decorate small hand mirrors. Decoupage is the creative technique of cutting out and pasting paper images onto objects or furniture and accentuating these images with paint. 

The sewing and craft classes organized by UNIFIL’s Republic of Korea contingent have been taught by trainer Kim Joo Yeon for the past five years. For the women participating, these popular classes are a livelihood strategy. Kim Joo Yeon, known locally as Hanna, explains, “After chatting to these women I realized their ambition is to open their own shops. They’re hoping their skills can be enhanced to a level where they can sell their own products. That is our main goal, and the students are participating enthusiastically.” 

Manal Jumaa, a participant in the class agrees, “We attended three courses that were very beneficial for my family and neighbors. We’ve learned new home-based skills and handicrafts that we can benefit from, and that can help us later on to improve our social conditions, especially in the midst of the current difficult situation.” 

A fellow participant, Samira Hussein, looks up from her painting to conclude, “This is the first time that I got the opportunity to learn a handicraft, that was facilitated by the Republic of Korea Battalion. I would like to thank the peacekeepers a lot. I also thank Hanna. She was more like a real sister to all of us than a teacher. We are like a family. I repeat my thanks to you for your efforts. I also wish that all women come to learn a handicraft, or any other vocation.” 

Article: Aoibheann O’Sullivan
Video Editor: Aoibheann O’Sullivan, Suzane Badereddine
Video Camera: Aoibheann O’Sullivan
Photo: Pascual Gorriz Marcos

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