HISTORY

In 1996 the European Union funded an aid program to set up the natural protectorate of St. Catherine and several other protectorates in South Sinai. One of the initiatives of the project was the Craft and Income Generation Project of the Bedouin Support Program. Initially, the goal was to preserve local Bedouin handicrafts and products were put on display rather than sold. The initiative, however, was subsequently taken a step further and the products were adapted for sale on the tourist market. Ms. Selema Gabaly, a Bedouin woman from St. Catherine, worked closely with European and Egyptian consultants in developing these new products and went on to register the limited liability company FanSina in July 2002. Since that time FanSina has grown considerably; new women have been trained and new products, always based on traditional Jabaleya designs but crafted with an eye towards the modern world, have been created. At present, when orders come in, Ms. Selema Gabaly distributes assignments among the 430 Jabaleya women who have been trained and who create crafts for the enterprise. Since its inception, the company has evolved into a vital source of income for Bedouin families throughout South Sinai and now is a unique and important engine of women's economic empowerment in tribal society.