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Upper Egyptian women display handmade products at Aswan film festival_Xinhua

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A man visits a handicraft stall during an exhibition of handmade goods on the sidelines of a women’s film festival in Aswan, Egypt, February 24, 2022. A variety of colorful crochet items like bears stuffed animals, coasters, handbags, hats, scrunchies, vases with heart-shaped flowers and more are on display in a hall at an exhibition of handicrafts in the charming town of ‘Aswan, Upper Egypt. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

by Mahmoud Fouly

ASWAN, Egypt, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) — A variety of colorful crochet items including teddy bears, coasters, handbags, hats, scrunchies, vases with flowers in the shape of heart, among many others, are exhibited in a room in the charming district of Upper Egypt. city ​​of Aswan.

The exhibition of handmade products is organized by the Egyptian National Council for Women (NCW) on the sidelines of the ongoing sixth edition of the Aswan International Women’s Film Festival (AIWFF), which opened on February 23 and will end at the end of the month.

“The NCW offers many women here the opportunity to participate in exhibitions and helps them develop their projects and introduce them to new markets,” Fatma Kamal, a 28-year-old craftswoman, told Xinhua.

“My wish is to see my project grow and to have my own brand and a place for my products,” she added, noting that this event is an opportunity for artisans to market their products and be presented. to more customers.

Handmade pieces on display include embroidered and crocheted products, leather and straw handbags, beaded ornaments, paintings and other items.

Zainab Abdel-Rahim, a 30-year-old woman who is deaf, exhibited her charcoal paintings of dark-skinned female faces symbolizing the women of Aswan. His works also include an oil painting depicting the iconic Philae temple complex in Aswan.

In another corner of the room, Neama Khalafallah, in her late twenties, was using a loom to create handmade beaded products, such as cell phone pouches, key rings, earrings, bracelets and other ornaments.

“I take training courses with NCW and apply them in a small project with my family members,” Khalafallah said.

“We would like everyone to come, visit us and encourage us. Moral support is more important to us than financial support,” added the young woman.

The NCW provides training to thousands of women across the country to develop their craft skills, market their products and connect them with business leaders.

May Mahmoud, head of the business development center for women at NCW, said the center is primarily concerned with the economic empowerment of women across the country.

“When a woman is economically self-sufficient, it means she has an income to support herself and her family alongside her husband,” the official told Xinhua.

“The social and political emancipation of a woman comes after her economic emancipation,” she stressed.

Mahmoud Khallaf, a physical therapist from Cairo who came to Aswan for a medical conference, bought two beaded necklaces, one for his daughter and another for his wife, and a key ring, in the shape of the Nubian cartoon character Bakkar, for his son.

“It’s my first time to visit Aswan. It’s a beautiful city with very friendly people, so I think their handicrafts are unique, rare and of high quality,” he said.

Another client was Aida Schlaepfer Al-Hassani, a Swiss filmmaker of Arab descent who has a documentary film in competition at the week-long AIWFF.

Al-Hassani bought a few bracelets made of beads and colored stones, as well as two coasters.

“I love to encourage handmade craftsmanship and we in Switzerland love these unique items. The best souvenir you can get from a country is one made by the hands of its people,” the Swiss woman told Xinhua.

A craftswoman shows woven handwork during a display of handmade products on the sidelines of a women’s film festival in Aswan, Egypt, February 24, 2022. A variety of colorful crochet items like bears stuffed animals, coasters, handbags, hats, scrunchies, vases with heart-shaped flowers and more are on display in a hall at an exhibition of handicrafts in the charming town of ‘Aswan, Upper Egypt. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

A craftswoman shows handwork made of beads during a display of handmade products on the sidelines of a women’s film festival in Aswan, Egypt, February 24, 2022. A variety of colorful crochet items like teddy bears, coasters, purses, hats, scrunchies, vases with heart-shaped flowers and more are displayed in a room at a craft show in the charming city of Aswan, Upper Egypt. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

A craftswoman strings beads during a display of handmade products on the sidelines of a women’s film festival in Aswan, Egypt, February 24, 2022. A variety of colorful crochet items like teddy bears, Coasters, handbags, hats, scrunchies, vases with heart-shaped flowers and more, are displayed in a hall at an exhibition of handmade goods in the charming town of Aswan, Upper Egypt. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

A craftswoman shows paintings during an exhibition of handmade products on the sidelines of a women’s film festival in Aswan, Egypt, February 24, 2022. A variety of colorful crocheted items like teddy bears, Coasters, handbags, hats, scrunchies, vases with heart-shaped flowers and more, are displayed in a hall at an exhibition of handmade goods in the charming town of Aswan, Upper Egypt. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

People visit handicraft stalls during an exhibition of handmade products on the sidelines of a women’s film festival in Aswan, Egypt, February 24, 2022. A variety of colorful crocheted items such as teddy bears, coasters, purses, hats, scrunchies, vases with heart-shaped flowers and more are displayed in a hall at an exhibition of handmade products in the charming city of Aswan, Upper Egypt. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

Photo shows woven baskets during a display of handmade products on the sidelines of a women’s film festival in Aswan, Egypt, February 24, 2022. A variety of colorful crocheted items like teddy bears stuffed animals, coasters, purses, hats, scrunchies, vases with heart-shaped flowers and more are displayed in a hall during an exhibition of handmade products in the charming city of Aswan, Upper Egypt. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)