MEET THE SEP ARTIST SERIES - 2. The story of Fatima
Posted on September 19 2021
Written by Emmy Plaschy, emmy·in·the·mix
On a warm summer afternoon, I had the chance to meet and sit down with some of the artists who put magic into fabrics, embroidering century-old intricate patterns with dedication and passion, one stitch at a time. All of them live in the Gaza refugee camp in Jerash, Jordan. Life is not always easy to say the least, but they have mastered the art of looking at life through the eye of a child: with authenticity, vulnerability and a great sense of humour. Welcome to the story of our superhero #2!
Emmy: Hi Fatima, can you tell us what you do at SEP?
Fatima: I started working at SEP in 2013, I am the "finishing officer". I am mainly in charge of quality inspection and have extensive knowledge in free-style embroidery.
Emmy: How many children do you have?
Fatima: 5! Two sons and three daughters. And my three daughters work with me at SEP.
Emmy: Can you tell us a little bit about your life?
Fatima: I was born and raised in the camp, I have always lived there. I took a sewing course for two years. And I have been married for 22 years.
Emmy: Have things changed in your life since you work?
Fatima: Yes. I have become independent: I do not have to ask for money. Even better: I have bought a house thanks to the income I get from SEP and some money raised through “jama3eeyat” (editor’s note: the equivalent of tontine, a peer-to-peer savings group where members contribute a fixed amount to a common pot and take turns collecting the money after a set period).
Emmy: Is there a picture you want to share with us?
Fatima: I want to show you this pouch, that my daughter Yaqin and I made together. I am very proud of it.
Emmy: What is your hope for the future?
Fatima: I want to open a business for my son to help him get a good start in life. As he does not have the Jordanian national number, he cannot be employed here (editor’s note: due to their particular status, residents of the camp do not have full-fledged Jordanian citizenship, which restricts their rights and opportunities).
Emmy: A last word?
Fatima: I am grateful to SEP and to all the people who want to help us. You really empower us!