Alsama Studio creates bespoke, hand-made embroidery art. Every item is unique. Each item is a wearable work of art to cherish over a life time.
The studio works to order. Among its regular customers are Swiss-British designer Larissa von Planta and British organisation Sabbara
It operates from the heart of the Shatila camp in Beirut and employs currently 25 embroidery artisans.
The studio is run as a social enterprise. It is financially independent from Alsama Project. All the money that the studio makes goes back to the studio and the women.
Most of the women artisans are the sole bread winners of their extended families.
Life in Shatila is not cheap. Even though its a refugee camp, the inhabitants have to pay rent, water, electricity, gas, wifi – just like anywhere else. But most refugees can’t find work and therefore have to take on debts.
Here is a breakdown of the monthly living expenses:
Rent: $200 – $250 (for 1 bedroom tiny flats)
Water/Electricity/Gas : $50 ( nb: the water from the mains is salty, so daily drinking & cooking water needs to be bought separately)
Every stitch helps me to keep my balance despite war and being a refugee.Jouhayna Fadel, Director, Alsama Studio
The women’s ages range from 20 to 45. Many of them have received only rudimentary school education. 10% can’t read or write.
Babies can be brought into the work-space.
The studio means hope for me. I'm earning my own money and I'm meeting new people.Hala Al-Santaly
The workshop provides a safe place where they give and receive support. Their homes often consists of one room which they share with children, violent husbands, elderly and sick parents. Rarely are they allowed to go out – unless it is to the Studio. Here they can chat to other women and discuss their problems freely. Moreover, the studio provides weekly yoga and empowerment / awareness classes for the women.
Our society will change when women change. I want to help the women to become stronger, psychologically and financially.Jouhayna Fadel, Director, Alsama Studio
Alsama Studio in the International Press:
CNN reports on success of Alsama Studio. Click here to read the article.
Tatler features the studio collaboration with Swiss-British designer Larissa von Planta. Click here to read more.