FanSina Bedouin Crafts
Bedouin Ladies work their magic on colorful thread and beads bringing back life to motifs stored only in the memories of elder tribesmen. Shoulder bags, back packs, cushions, make-up bags, curtains, coasters, quilts, and more - all carry the scents of life known only to old Bedouins, sawn into an attire of modernity, fashion, and functionality, much suitable for our present day.
FanSina originally started as a development initiative, which was a component of a multi-million Euro bilateral aid program between the European Union (EU) and the Government of Egypt for setting up nature protectorates in South Sinai. One of these protectorates became the St. Catherine Protectorate after the establishment of the Protectorate in St. Catherine in 1996. The initiative was at first referred to as "Craft and Income Generation Project of the Bedouin Support Program" and started in 1997 with the assistance of two anthropology consultants. Initially, the premise was to preserve the local Bedouin handicrafts and the products were more put on display than sold.
By the year 2000, a local consultant was invited to contribute his expertise and he changed the premise from just preservation, to marketing of the products by using a variety of material and colors.
Ms. Selema Gabaly, a Bedouin from St. Catherine and who was working as a secretary in the Protectorate at the time, was assisting the consultants from the start. She became more involved in the project and worked closely with the local consultant, who also was selling the products in Cairo. Ms. Selema has the connection with the Bedouin females who produce the products and she is the first Bedouin to obtain a secondary school certificate in St. Katherine. As the operation started to pick up, four Bedouin women and a Bedouin man were selected to run the operation, with Ms. Selema as the leader.
The operation was based on three pillars which they all agreed on: 1. social aspect targeting women with no alternative sources of income, 2. cultural aspect focusing on preserving tradition and local handicrafts, teaching the younger generation the trade and 3. economic aspect maintaining fair trade principles while encouraging Bedouin females to create marketable products.