Embracing empowerment through art; Kuchinate’s new ways of reaching out

Written by
Shahni Ben-Haim

Learn to do something new while helping a cause

On the corner of Rothschild Boulevard and Herzl Street stands an abandoned building with an adorned wall, a colorful mosaic that reads “we were all once refugees.” Standing in the hub of nightlife and what many look beyond lies a legitimate organization behind the artwork.

© Kuchinate

Offering African women a source of empowerment to provide for their families while creating beautiful crocheted baskets is Kuchinate. Founded under the umbrella organization A.R.T.S. (African Refugee Therapeutic Services), the organization not only provides the women with a source of income, but it also helps them integrate within Israeli society.

© Kuchinate

Seeing beyond the hipster chic facade of South Tel Aviv neighborhoods, it has also become a haven for an abundance of African asylum seekers that have escaped from their home countries for opportunities of a better future in Israel. The neighborhood is also home to the brick and mortar shop for Kuchinate.

© Rona Yefman

The word “Kuchinate” is derived from the language of Tigrinya, the native language in Eritrea, and literally translates to crochet, which is the technique the women use to craft their charming handmade baskets. Beyond baskets, the women handcraft poufs and rugs and also host crochet lessons and traditional coffee ceremonies.

© Kuchinate

In attempts for more community outreach the women have come together to create weekly workshops beginning Oct. 26 from 11:00-13:00 where they invite the public to learn how to craft their own baskets. The organization is also taking part in an exhibition entitled “Hanging from a Thread” which will be showcased at Abraham Hostel during Illustration Week 2018.

Visit their shop: 104 Hartziyon St, Tel Aviv

Sun closed; Mon - 10:00 - 14:00; Tue - Wed 10:00 - 17:00; Thu-Fri 10:00 - 14:00; Sat - closed

Private lessons - NIS 200 (1 person) NIS 250 (2 people)

Group Lessons - NIS 100 (per person) Over 3 people

For more information: www.kuchinate.com

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