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    Ras Beirut, Beirut district

    Nearly one-third of the registered Palestine refugees, more than 1.5 million individuals, live in 58 recognized Palestine refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Currently Lebanon hosts close to 450,000 Palestinian refugees in 12 camps. Conditions for the communities living in refugee camps in Lebanon are notoriously difficult. Employment opportunities are limited and the level of unemployment is extremely high for men. At the same time, traditionally it is not usual for their women to seek employment outside their immediate surroundings. Living on aid and handouts is neither sufficient for needs nor conducive to psychological wellbeing. It was these social problems that led Huguette Bechara El Khoury (daughter of Lebanon’s first President) to establish Inaash as a way of creating employment and providing an income for refugee women confined to the camps. The one transferable skill the women brought with them to Lebanon was traditional embroidery. Throughout the last 5 decades, Inaash has worked to both preserve this culture and harness it as a means of livelihood for its practitioners in five camps located across Lebanon. Since inception, over 2,000 women benefited from the production of Inaash products, both in monetary terms and through a sense of community and continuity, and currently provides work for over 400 women. Successive generations have passed on the skill from mother to daughter. Their work with Inaash and the ancillary services it provides have had a positive impact not just on the women but on their families. At the heart of each Inaash piece, in its stitches, colors and motifs, is the history of Palestine as expressed in its distinctive visual heritage – embroidery. Inaash is a Lebanese organization producing the finest quality handmade artisanal products. Their trademark is iconic, intricate traditional embroidery. The product selection includes abayas, coats, jackets, shawls and dresses, along with cushions, tableware and other household accessories. Today the Inaash in-house designers collaborate with local and international artists and designers to update its designs. Those who have contributed to developing the Inaash range include Nada Debs, Rabih Keyrouz, Dina Kamal, Nafissa, May Daouk, Mira Hayek, Creative Space Beirut, Ecru Online, Omar Nasser and Jason Steel. Inaash products have been featured at the Smithsonian Museum, in the British Museum, the Pompidou Center in Paris, Tate Modern, London, Al Sadu Museum Kuwait and in exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Paris, London, Abu Dhabi, Al Manama, Dubai, Doha, and Riyadh.