One Day Arab Cultural Camp {Resource}

Many schools in our area of Seattle will be closed for Veteran’s Day so I created a one day Arab Culture Camp to give parents an educational option for a place to send their kids.

I had created a one week Arab Cultural Camp for the summer, but condensed the activities to one day, plus added a few more.

Camp is $80 per child, with a discount for siblings, from the hours of 9am – 3pm and is held in an art studio.

Our day will start by making Arabic camp name tags. The kids will have a list of funny Arabic camp names to pick from. After we get to know each other a little better, we will write each camper’s real name in Arabic for them on a canvas. Then we will help them cover their name, creating negative space to paint, very similar to our khatam and Allah painters tape projects.

Since we will already have the paints out, we will move on to our next craft, painting Arab world rocks.

After we clean up the paints, we’ll move on to the kitchen to make a man’ousheh snack. Each camper will eat the lunch they brought from home while we wait for them to bake.

Once lunch is over, we will spend a little time looking at books with Arab protagonists and depending on the child’s age, have a story time or allow for quite reading. We will also have materials out so the campers can make their own punch art bookmarks.

Our day will end making shrinky dink with Arab shapes, symbols & designs into buttons, charms or keychains. For the older kids, we will also do a little tatreez lesson, that includes a project to take home.

We hope you can join us for this special one day event. Please email ACraftyArab at gmail dot com for an application & to hold your spot.

If you’d like to have your own private Arab culture camp at home, be sure to stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more fun tutorials to teach you about the Arab world.

Refugee Popup Bookstore {Resource}

This weekend, I am opening a refugee pop-up bookstore, SCM Souk, to help a local Seattle nonprofit humanitarian organization acquire more income to run its programs.

Souk /سوق is the Arabic word for store, originally started as an idea to provide the Salaam Cultural Museum with a way to support refugees.

Salaam Cultural Museum (SCM) is a charitable non-profit organization originally formed in February 1996 to gather and publish information on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and to promote understanding of the people, cultures, languages, religions, and lands of this region. For the last several years they have been collecting and distributing humanitarian aid and coordinating SCM Medical Missions to the region.

SCM Medical Missions not only sends doctors, nurses and humanitarian relief to the Zaatari Refugee Camp, the second largest in the world, but it also sends medical equipment, clothing, menstrual pads, shoes, quilts, school supplies and sports equipment. All these are proved free of charge to refugees.

I got involved with SCM Medical Missions when I found out that 100% of all the money donated goes to these programs. They have zero overhead, zero staff salaries, zero administration fees. Everything is volunteer and their accounting books are open for anyone to look over. They have grant writers to help find funds to cover operating costs and donors that cover the fees for the containers SCM fills with donated items.

A few months ago, one of the SCM board members offered space in Bellevue, Washington, across the street from Bellevue Park, to sell a few items, such as books and jewelry made by the refugee women in the SCM run educational and sewing training centers.

I offered to help get the souk started, since I had already helped set up a similar retail space for them in Seattle. For the past month, my family and I have been painting, building, and cleaning a 200 foot room to turn it into a second souk for SCM.

My daughters have given up their past weekends to helping paint. All the paint was donated.

Meanwhile, my husband built a custom cover for the pipes that were exposed. All the wood, nails and drywall were also donated.

We will be selling the beautiful handmade jewelry, along with traditional embroidered dresses and children’s literature that focus on refugees, diversity and marginalized people. I have been contacting publishers & authors to fill the shelves with diverse books. I decorated the souk’s front doors with the types of books I was searching for, while the mess was going on inside..

We will have the space for five weeks, but plan to take full advantage of it by celebrating Women’s History Month with activities each Saturday.

We will begin with a story time reading of a book, then followed by a free craft to take home.

Please help SCM Souk grow by liking the Facebook page. It will help you keep track of where we will be next month.

MENAL Fest 2019 {Resource}

A Crafty Arab was honored to be asked to take part in the MENAL Festival, held at University of Washington, Bothell, located outside Seattle.

The Middle East and North African (MENA) Literature Festival provides a platform that magnifies MENA female voices, allowing them to be heard, and to engage with the public at large.

MENAL Fest featured Tatreez & Tea as the first annual keynote speakers for MENAL fest! This organization teaches about the centuries-old tradition of tatreez (the Arabic word for Palestinian embroidery) and the meanings it carries from generations past and today as a symbol of resilience.

I created a table with the following tutorials to teach about the MENA region.

There were a few other booths from the community as well.

The lecture was standing room only, overflowing so much I gave my booth chairs to others. Afterwards, I had a chance to take a photo with Wafa Ghnaim, the author of Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora and her mother, Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow. We are all wearing Palestinian thobes, an Arabic word for long, flowing garment, all hand embroidered with tatreez.

The next day, a workshop was help to learn how to embroidery and I was able to attend as a participant. I choose to work on a Tree of Life design with my favorite colors. I choose the most difficult design as I had cross stitched before, but I still was not able to finish it as I spent most of my time talking to my table mates. Here is the final project, finished at home.

I was so excited to be a part of this event, first to teach others about the Arab world, then to learn myself new things about the Arab world.

If you would like to have an A Crafty Arab educational book at your next event, please contact me. Be sure to check out other ACraftyArab outings on Pinterest.