CAIRO: The Economic Commission for the National Council for Women (NCW), headed by Hassan Sanad and Hala Fawzi, visited South Sinai on Thursday to help all Sinai associations to preserve their historical and traditional handicrafts from fading into disappearance, Youm7 reported Thursday.
“This visit was in light of the recommendations suggested during NCW’s conference in February called New Prospects For Development Of Women in Sinai. The recommendations included establishing a union to include all Sinai associations tasked with the activation of handicrafts in Sinai,” Sanad said during the visit.
“Some of these crafts were passed on from generation to generation and still have significant cultural and economic value,” he added. “Egyptians must cooperate to preserve and protect them from extinction.”
He said handicrafts in Egypt are suffering from governmental neglect since there are no exhibitions and galleries to showcase them. The diminishing number of employees working in handicrafts during recent years negatively affected the local market of handicraft products.
During the visit, Chairman of the General Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Talaat Abdel-Qawi said they will provide full assistance to the associations by participating in the union. They will also hold exhibitions to market handicraft products, stressing that marketing is the main obstacle hindering the development of handicraft products.
“The federation will provide training for women and all the required financial resources through grants and foreign loans to preserve Sinai’s handicrafts from fading,” Qawi added. “Egypt’s new constitution’s obligations include developing the borders and disadvantaged areas.”
Many Egyptian craftsmen left this career and many workshops were shut down due to the existence of new trends, such as American modern contemporary pieces, head of Asala Association for caring Egypt’s arts heritage Ezz al-Din Taguib told Al-Ahram newspaper.
He said the government should establish exhibitions and galleries inside and outside Egypt to allow craftsmen to promote and market their Arabic heritage represented in the products.
Head of NCW Mervat el-Tellawy called in a June statement to develop the skills and abilities of the youths during the upcoming period and to pay further attention to educate and train young men on various crafts so that they could engage in the market.
In 2013, Egypt’s exports of handicraft products reached $583 million, she said and that the Ministry of Local Development aims to deliver promotional missions to increase exports to $1 billion annually.
To flourish the handicraft sector and increase Egypt’s revenues through handicrafts, the Ministry of Housing in cooperation with the Ministry of Local Development is set to establish the First Cooperative Handicraft Gathering in Beheira governorate in September, Masrawy reported Thursday.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry held the Egyptian Export Council for Handicrafts in March 2014.
Deputy head of the Egyptian Export Council for Handicrafts Hisham Al-Gazzar announced that Egypt is among the top ten developing countries in exporting handicraft products. He said the importance of handicraft production lies in offering job opportunities for many people, ensuring income for the poor, and the development of isolated areas, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.