| 19 April 2024, Friday |

Gaza women create cosmetics from local herbs

Palestinian farmers have exported for years herbs to Europe where they have been turned into high-end cosmetics and beauty products.

Now a team of Gaza women have brought the process home, extracting the essential oils themselves and creating products such as shampoo and moisturizer which are sold in 50 stores, including 30 pharmacies, across the enclave.

From a factory in Gaza City, the internationally funded project’s four staffers, all women, use steam distillation to draw out the ingredients from plants including rosemary, basil, mint, thyme and chamomile.

“When you hold the product, you feel like you are taking something from the earth – with no additives,” Refqa Al-Hamalawi told Reuters of the project, which sources herbs exclusively from farms run by women.

Their range already runs to 17 products, including cleansers and body wash, under the brand GG – standing for green gold, as the farmers of northern Gaza call mint.

“As women, we’re proud of the idea and the production, an idea like in European countries,” Hamalawi said.

The project, aimed at empowering women and boosting the economy, is supported by Australia and the global charity Oxfam.

While small scale so far, the women involved say it has already begun to have an impact in Gaza, where unemployment hovers around 50%. Female unemployment is even higher at 62%, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

  • Reuters