This apron captures the story of Maisa, who achieved the highest high school grades in Jordan. For a Jordanian citizen, this would award them a free scholarship for university, but because Maisa, as a resident of the Gaza refugee camp in Jerash, has no national ID number, she was not entitled to qualify. Obliged to pay very expensive international fees, she couldn’t afford to pursue her studies. She ended up remaining in the camp, and gave up on her dreams.
In response to Maisa’s story, this multi-functional and semi-professional apron has been designed with the fabric used for Jordanian school uniforms. It reflects on the fact that while the students in the Gaza camp focus very much on their education, their future career options are hindered by their refugee journey and status.
- Nour Nsheiwat (JO)
Nour Nshweiat is the founder and designer of N Products, with 10 years of experience in home furnishing and product design. N Products are recycling abandoned items into home furniture and useful products. ‘Products with stories’ is the slogan of N products.
- Rebekka Fries (NL)
As a designer and researcher Rebekka Fries monitors and frames, disconnected world views produced by mass and social media. Recently graduated with a Master in Design: Visual Strategies at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam and currently based in Rotterdam.
- Gaza Refugee Camp (PS)
Gaza camp is a refugee camp near Jerash, where almost 40,000 Palestinian refugees are living. They, their parents or grandparents, fled from Gaza in 1967, when Israel invaded the Gaza strip, which was at that time under Egyptian rule. These Palestinian refugees never received Jordanian citizenship. Until today they don’t have a national number and are therefore stateless. As such, they aren’t allowed to work, don’t have access to regular healthcare, and they can’t afford to further their education outside the camp. If they would like to get a job, they need to buy a working permit of 500 JOD (± € 600), which is only valid for 6 months. So for most people this doesn’t make any sense at all. One cannot understand how these people aren’t offered any way out, no right to return, no status, no opportunities, no future. These Palestinian refugees have lived under inhumane conditions for 50 years now. Although we were aware that we were visiting one of the poorest camps in Jordan, nobody expected that the refugees struggle this much. We were silenced, speechless, saddened, angry, but above all we felt powerless and were struggling how to relate to this uncomfortable truth. Some felt really depressed, others were fighting with feelings of guilt for not taking enough action, and at the same time we felt unease in being part of a van with international visitors, being dropped at places in the camp to visit, watch and leave. It underlined our privileged position and the bubble we live in.
By: Saber Abu Masoud (tailor), Zainab Abu Jamous, Yusra Abu Sil’a, Farha Khammash, Asma Ayesh (Gaza Camp, Jerash, JO)
School uniform fabric, cotton embroidery