Shatila Studio creates bespoke, hand-made needle art and women’s fashion. All our products are made entirely in-house. The social enterprise is run by Syrian and Palestinian refugee women for Syrian and Palestinian refugee women. It operates from the heart of the Shatila camp in Beirut.
Shatila Studio works to order but has also created their own, unique collection that includes bags, shirts and jackets. The studio gives employment to over 100 Syrian and Palestinian refugee women from Shatila. They are skilled in embroidery, tailoring and crochet work. Shatila Studio’s own design takes its inspiration from life in camp. The studio counts among its clients Spanish shoe designer Gioseppo, Lebanese designer Rana Salam and Italian corporation Barilla.
Shatila Studio was originally set up in 2013 as a women’s embroidery workshop by Basmeh & Zeitooneh, a local Lebanese charity founded in the wake of the Syrian crisis. Through the help of donations, they were able to train over 1000 refugee women as embroiderers. In March 2015, Caritas International and the Fidel Gotz Foundation awarded the workshop the Women Sowers of Development Prize for its role in empowering Syrian female refugees. In 2018, faced with a lack of funding, the organization was re-established as a social enterprise led by a core team: Niveen Sokari, Fatimah Khalifa, Boushra Bakeer, Samr Aldomani and Jamil Mansour. German-British entrepreneur Meike Ziervogel came on board to help establish the brand and build international relationships. Today Shatila Studios serves a growing international clientele through their online store and bespoke offerings.
Core Values of Shatila Studio
Quality – Every product is entirely hand-made by us, Syrian and Palestinian women refugees following the highest quality standards to compete on the market.”
“I want our products to be perfect!” – Jamil Mansour, Head Tailor
Empowerment – Empower refugee women by providing them with a safe place to work, building a community and generating an income to support their families.
“I have dreams like everyone else, but in Shatila Studio these dreams can become real” – Fatimah Khalifa, Procurement and Inventory officer of Shatila Studio
Resilience– Turning crises into opportunities. War is not all bad, it led to the foundation of Shatila Studio.
“War is terrible but good things can come from it” – Niveen Sokari, Co-Director of Shatila Studio
Inspiration– We are Shatila. Our fashion collections are inspired by our environment, the bustling Shatila Refugee Camp – the oldest in the world.
“I love our Shatila Collection. It’s so elegant. And it’s all made by us.” – Samar Aldomani, Tailor
In the coming three years Shatila will concentrate on the following three areas of growth:
§ Increase and diversification of Shatila Studio production and collection: collaboration with international designers who will take artistic inspiration from life in Shatila to create a collection that they will execute.
§ Development and implementation of a marketing and sales plan with a focus on international markets: they aim to build an international sales force in Europe, America, Asia (especially China) and the Middle East (Dubai, Saudi Arabia) to target private corporations (for bespoke corporate gifts), wedding & party organisers, local designers.
§ Focus on promotional and marketing tools and international events to increase visibility and exposure of the brand
Potential refugee impact
Shatila Studio is located within the Shatila refugee camp in the south of Beirut. Originally set up in 1948 for 3,000 Palestinian refugees, it now houses an estimated 40,000 people following the Syrian crisis. Shatila Studio provides sustainable work and income for over 100 women from the camp. It is the biggest social enterprise in Shatila. All team members (but Meike), employees and artisans live in the Shatila refugee camp. Most of the women artisans are the sole bread winners of their extended families. Moreover, the Studio provides a variety of wrap-around services for their employees including a space to meet, a free nursery, yoga, English classes and business & entrepreneurship education.
Meike Ziervogel – Co-Director
Niveen Sokari – Co-Director
Shatila Studio is an enterprise based in the Shatila camp in Beirut, Lebanon.