Bait al KARAMA foresees the establishment of a social-cultural centre run by women and managed according to a social enterprise business model, where food-related activities is the vehicle to develop regular income for the women involved as well as the mean to sustain a social and cultural meaningful programme.

At the heart of the project, two main goals:

  • to support the social and economic needs of women of the Old City of Nablus struggling in the aftermath of the occupation by means of a food-based social enterprise
  • to draw international attention to the Old City of Nablus as a place of Art and Culture, by initiating a number of cultural and artistic initiatives involving the local and wider Palestinian cultural scene as well as international guests  and to encourage sustainable tourism.

Bait al KARAMA Women Centre is located in a recently renovated building in the very heart of the Old City of Nablus. Bait al Karama, run and managed by disadvantaged women living in the Old City of Nablus, features, among other relevant social and educational activities, the first female-run Cookery School in Palestine. Through income generating activities Bait al Karama aims to achieve long-term financial sustainability, and to accomplish its social-cultural mission, whilst offering the women of the Old City employment and the chance to develop income and self-sustainability.

Bait al KARAMA is the first Slow Food Convivium in Nablus.

Bait al KARAMA is a project initiated by Fatima Kadumy (of the the Women Committee of the Nablus Old City Charity Society),  Beatrice Catanzaro (visual artist – Italy) and Cristiana Bottigella (cultural manager – UK).

The Nablus Old City Charity Society The Charity was established in 2001 in order to provide support to the local community of the Old City heavily proved by the siege during and after the second Intifada. The Nablus Old City Charity Society’s activities ranged from housing rehabilitation to humanitarian aid, in cooperation with other local organisations as well as international NGOs. Since 2008 the Charity is officially registered as NGO counting 120 active members, 45 of which are women. Between 2001 and 2008, 90% of the activities of the Charity focused on relief programmes, while, since 2008, the focus moved, from the state of emergency, to a more developmental approach. Among the main activities and programmes of the Charity: rehabilitation of buildings in the old city, with the support of the Municipality of Nablus and the Province; sheltering of more then 140 families whose houses were demolished under the IDF attacks; employment programs for youth and adults in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and with the European Community; distribution of circa 34.000 food packages over three years; collaborations with international organisations (such as Aid Association, Save the Children, Medics Without Borders etc.) for psychological counselling in the Old City;  summer camps for children, involving circa 300 kids yearly, with the support of the Ministry for Youth and Sport

The Women Committee Since its foundation in 2001, the Charity established a women committee devoted to a wide range of activities with the female community of the Old City: counselling and psychological support for women under trauma (“lost women”) and building capacity programmes focusing on income generating activities for those women who became the first resources of income in their family; providing loans to encourage women to initiate small projects.

Beatrice Catanzaro (visual artist – Italy)  has researched and produced works throughout Europe, the Middle East and India,  with focus on social and political dynamics, unfolding a range of diverse media and creative strategies with a considerable context specific inclination. She has collaborated as visiting artist/tutor with the Unidee Artists in Residency International Program at Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto for several years. Her work has been exhibited in international venues as Manifesta7 (at the MART Museum of Rovereto), Fundacao Gulbenkian in Lisbon and the Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló (EACC) in Spain.Currently she lives and work between Nablus and Jerusalem (Palestine) and teaches at the International Art Academy in Ramallah.

Cristiana Bottigella  (cultural manager – UK) worked for ten years at the Pistoletto Foundation (Italy), where she was Head of the Education Office and Member of the Board. She managed and developed the Unidee is Residence International Programme, leading the project to become one of the most important and appreciated in the world. She has worked with hundreds of young political and social engaged artists and is committed towards the establishment of the social enterprise business model as a valuable financial and operational alternative for the cultural sector. Cristiana is currently based in London.