Palestinian women create cosmetics from local herbs - GulfToday

Palestinian women create cosmetics from local herbs

Gaza cosmetics 1

Palestinian women collect tree leaves in Gaza City. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

For years, Palestinian farmers have exported herbs to Europe where they have been turned into high-end cosmetics and beauty products.


Octopus with 36 arms discovered in Japan

This device determines severity of COVID19 cases in 15 minutes

Worlds most expensive fries on sale at New York restaurant for 200

Now a team of Gaza women have brought the process home, extracting the essential oils themselves and creating products such as shampoo and moisturiser which are sold in 50 stores, including 30 pharmacies, across the enclave.

Gaza cosmetics 2 Refqa Al-Hamalawi, chairman of the board of the Najd Development Forum sits in her office in Gaza City. Reuters

From a factory in Gaza City, the internationally funded project's four staffers, all women, use steam distillation to draw out the ingredients from plants including rosemary, basil, mint, thyme and chamomile.

"When you hold the product, you feel like you are taking something from the earth - with no additives," Refqa Al-Hamalawi said of the project, which sources herbs exclusively from farms run by women.

Their range already runs to 17 products, including cleansers and body wash, under the brand GG – standing for green gold, as the farmers of northern Gaza call mint.

"As women, we're proud of the idea and the production, an idea like in European countries," Hamalawi said.

Gaza cosmetics 3 A Palestinian woman collects mint in her family land. Reuters

The project, aimed at empowering women and boosting the economy, is supported by Australia and the global charity Oxfam, according to Reuters.

While  small scale so far, the women involved say it has already begun to have an impact in Gaza, where unemployment hovers around 50%. Female unemployment is even higher at 62%, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

Dawlat Marouf said before the project, she struggled to make a living selling mint and thyme she farms in local markets.

Now, she "wakes up everyday at 5 am to come to the field and prepare 40-50 kg ordered by the factory", the 55-year-old mother of 12 said.

Marouf's daughter-in-law, Ekhlas, said she did not know herbs had uses outside of cooking.

The project will "develop us, make a source of income for our children and our families", Ekhlas said.

Pharmacist Narmin Al-Banna stocks the products at her store. "I like these products because they are natural and have no chemicals in them. I tried them on many people, and many customers, and they gave me great feedback," she said.

Related articles