OUR HANDS: Clothing & Needlework

In the second week of the Our Hands campaign, we took a look at sewing, clothing-making, and needlework. Our Hands is a campaign that aims to highlight the unrecognized and undervalued labor of Moroccan women through hand imagery.

Moroccan embroidery and needlework is largely considered a woman’s task, and has been a part of the culture since ancient times. While many women learn from family members within the household, this art form has become a way for women to earn money and financially support themselves and their families. Stitches and designs vary from region to region, but the care, intricacy, and precision that go into these products remain consistent across the country.

Our first submission came from America Muñoz, a PCV in the Tata region:

Our Hands (2)

Our Hands (3)
“At the Association Femmes Bani Akka, women are taught skills in sewing, crotchet, and knitting as a way to teach skills that can be transferred into profitable opportunities. Several of the women who have honed the craft at the association have gone on to open their own tailoring stores or to working on custom orders at home.”

Next up we had GAD Committee Chair, Leslie Grueber, who submitted photos from her site’s rug-making and sewing cooperative near Kelaa M’Gouna:

Our Hands (4)

Our Hands (3)

Our Hands (2)
“An experienced tailor volunteers her time to pass on valuable sewing skills to young women at a rural community’s Women’s Center. The women hope to soon start a cooperative using the skills they’ve collectively built.”

Lastly, GAD member Katie Bercegeay closed out the week with a photo from her site in the north of Morocco:

“Throughout the Sefrou region, threaded button work (“l3a9ad”) is remarkably common among women and girls. Most that I know were raised on the craft and spend any downtime they have between chores at home creating these intricate pieces that are then sold to a middle-man in bundles of forty and later sewn onto traditional kaftans around the country. The bundles of forty are sold to a middle-man for only 3-10 dirham ($0.30 – $1.00) per bundle depending on the style. In places like Sefrou and Khenifra, button cooperatives innovate to sell highly-marketable products at fairer prices to the artisans. We hope to inspire this kind of creativity to generate higher incomes for many of the hardworking, skilled women we know and care about in my site and the surrounding villages.”

Thank you to all who submitted photos! Keep following along on the GAD Instagram, and be sure to post your own photos using the hashtags #ourhands2018 and #gadmorocco.

Posted by Caroline Hayes


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