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Lakia Association for the Improvement of Women’s Status, Israel/Palestine – Empowering women through education

Naama AlSana, the director of the Desert Embroidery Project and Asmaa AlSana, the executive director of Lakia. Photo: © Ines FischerNaama AlSana, the director of the Desert Embroidery Project and Asmaa AlSana, the executive director of Lakia. Photo: © Ines FischerArea of intervention: the Bedouin settlement Laika (close to Beersheba), Israel

Supported by TDF since: 2003

Target group: Bedouin women


  • Since the beginning of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict many of the 200.000 nomadic Bedouins living in the Negev desert have been forced to settle down. Most of their settlements are declared illegal by the Israeli state, leading to a lack of even the most basic infrastructure.
  • The living conditions of women are particularly difficult: forced to settle down, their freedom of movement and assigned duties within the household became more restricted. Due to strong patriarchal family structures, many women are affected by social and financial dependency, domestic violence, and disadvantages in education.

Project activities:

Founded and managed by Bedouin women, the work of Lakia Women’s Association concentrates on (educational) empowerment of girls and women, promoting their freedom of choice and independence. 

Some current project activities:

  • Project Desert Embroidery, which provides the participants with alternative income opportunities and promotes the free development of their talents and abilities.
  • Project Youth Leadership: Round table discussions for young women encourage the participants to talk about issues usually avoided at home. Further trainings on human rights, marketing or project development are offered. Moreover, critical workshops for men are also organized to discuss and eventually break open discriminative role models.
  • In cooperation with schools in Lakia, Lakia Women’s Association organizes pedagogical programs and holiday courses for children and young adults.
  • Three times a week, a mobile library with Hebrew, Arabic and English books tours through Lakia and illegalized Bedouin settlements.


  • Even though in the beginning there was certain resistance within the Bedouin community, Lakia Women’s Association now is an established and well-known women’s rights organisation in the region. In 2015, director Naama Al Sana has been rewarded with the Rappaport Lifetime Award for Women Generating Change in Israeli Society and in 2016, she received the Negev Ben Gurion Award.
  • Especially the empowerment of young Bedouin women was successful: more Bedouin girls than ever attend school or study at the university of Beersheba.
  • The mobile library has proven to be a very effective medium of education: around 1.500 children have regular access to books, taking them home to their mothers and families.
  • Intercultural cooperation has been strengthened during the last two years: several meetings of women organized by Lakia Women’s Association and a Jewish Kibbutz close by contributed to pacific inter-religious exchange.

Project leader: Asmaa AlSana

Contacts: Voluntary project coordinator Ines Fischer (israel-palestine@frauenrechte.de)
or TERRE DES FEMMES – International Cooperation (iz@frauenrechte.de)

Your support is needed:

  • for the improvement of infrastructure, which is vital to the acquisition and transportation of materials,
  • the marketing of the embroidery products, as well as to guarantee proper working conditions.

You can also directly support the participants of the Project Desert Embroidery by purchasing their products.

Support Lakia with a one-time donation or contribute regularly and become a sponsor!

You can also donate to the following account, using the keyword “Israel-Palestine” as a reference for your payment:

IBAN DE35 8309 4495 0103 1160 00