Established in 1996, Sindyanna of Galilee is a registered non-profit organization. Led by women striving for social change, it operates in the Arab population of the Galilee region in northern Israel, and seeks to help growers and producers from the Palestinian Occupied Territories.
Furthermore, Sindyanna combines commercial activity with work in the community, thereby enhancing the empowerment of Arab women while developing the olive industry. Our focus is on values such as land preservation, environmental considerations, and commerce according to the principles of fair trade.
Sindyanna symbolizes a unique cooperation between Arabs and Jews, striving to strengthen the economy of the Arab-Palestinian population, both in Israel and in the Occupied Territories. Sindyanna is not only a means of helping farmers and growers from the North, but also a way of showing that a solution to the Middle East conflict begins with creating real economic opportunities.
The Sindyanna Name
The name Sindyanna of Galilee (سنديانة الجليل) refers to the Palestine Oak (Quercus calliprinos). These trees are known for their long lives, and if nothing damages them they grow to enormous dimensions.
In ancient times, people would place statues of the gods in the shade of these trees, and thus the oaks became sacred too. Even today some aged specimens can be found in our region, either because they were declared sacred or because they grow near tombs or other holy sites.
This is the most common tree in the Galilee. “Coffee” made from the acorns of this tree (بلوط) leave a bitter aftertaste, as noted by the Arabic proverb: “I love you as I love water after acorn coffee.”
Sindyanna of Galilee chose its name because of the significance it has for Galilee residents today. According to the contemporary Palestinian folklore, the oak is blessed with endurance, stability and rootedness to the land, therefore it simbolizes the Arab citizens of Israel who remained firmly on their lands and refused to leave during the war of 1948.
Fair Trade Product Line
Sindyanna of Galilee purchases its raw materials from local producers, over 200 families, both in Israel and in the West Bank. Our line of fair trade products for 2011 includes the following:
- Olive oil (organic and non-organic)
- Za'atar mixtures and leaves
- 5 types of olive oil soap
- Olive wood soap dish
- Carob syrup
Olive Oil - The present stock was produced from the 2008 olive harvest, which took place in November-December. Olive oil supply was received from 5 different manufacturers, comprising of family producers of 10 persons or more, who directly benefit from selling their olive oil produce. All our suppliers are farmers from villages in northern Israel, including the western Galilee, Wadi Arra, and the Nazareth area.
Za’atar - Za'atar distributed by Sindyanna is produced by a farmers' cooperative in Jericho. The cooperative has 55 member families, providing them with benefits from selling its products.
Olive Oil Soap - Our soap is produced in Nablus, in the territories of the Palestinian Authority, providing livelihood for 7 families. In addition, we buy olive oil, as well as additives to olive oil soap (milk, honey, lemon), from villages near Nablus.
Currently, Sindyanna sells its products to more than 35 customers, mainly fair trade companies and various organizations abroad that order at least once a year.
Among our partner organizations are the following:
- EZA – Austria
- Alternativa3 – Spain
- Les Magasins du Monde Oxfam, OWW – Belgium
- TTV – Canada
- Palestine Olive, J-net – Japan
- Chico Mendes, Liberomondo – Italy
- Serrve, TTV, Dr, Bronners' – USA
- Oxfam – Australia
- Claro – Switzerland
- Hadeel/Palcrafts, Zaytoun, LUSH – UK
- El Puente - Germany
Increase in Revenues and Market Share
2009 marked a small increase in Sindyanna's sales volume:
Olive oil - from an overall export of 20 tons of olive oil in 2004, to 40 tons in 2009, of which 25% organic olive oil. We plan to increase our olive oil export to 50 tons in 2012.
Olive oil soap bars - in 1998, 2,000 bars, whereas in 2009 more than 80,000 were sold . We would like to increase this figure and add new types of soap in 2010 as well. Recently we have started to market Sindyanna's soap with olive wood dish in cooperation with The Holy Land Handicrafts Coop. from Beit-Sahur.
The following chart demonstrates the turnover increase for the time period of 2006-2011:
Sindyanna provides jobs for 15 employees - 5 women are working in the production line, 3 in management, 3 in our visitor's center in Kufr Manda, and another 2 are working part-time in accounting and administration. A single woman is working part-time as a saleswomen, and another one as a handcrafts teacher and art designer in our basket weaving project.
Many volunteers, local and international, help us in different ways: website design, video and photo documentation, content translation into English and other languages, distribution of products in the local market etc.
In June 2005 we moved from our tiny room in the village of Majd al-Qrum, to a bigger and more modern warehouse, located in Kufr Kana (Kana of Galilee) near Nazareth. Investment in equipment was made, and in 2005 we bought a semi automatic capping machine.
At the end of 2008, a semi automatic filling machine was purchased. In the future we hope to be able to turn this equipment into a full production line which will also include a labelling machine.
Investments & Prospects for the Future
We invest our profits in:
- Developing warehouse equipment and our production capacity.
- Women's training project. Basket weaving.
- Networking campaign to bring Arab women back to work.
- Promoting Arab artists: postcards & calendar
- Farmers training in olive growing and production of olive oil
One of our main tasks for the upcoming year is to develop our basket weaving project, providing jobs for more women and adding a brand new dimension to our line of products.
Another goal is to plant olive trees in plots belonging to Arab farmers and to earn organic certification for those orchards. This project will serve to preserve Arab-owned land from expropriation and to develop an industry of production and marketing of olive products, especially organic olive oil.
Sindyanna of Galilee
Address: P.O. box 35252 Tel Aviv, Israel 61351
Telephone: (+972) 4-6516784
Fax: (+972) 4-6418182
Mobile: (+972) 50-5848244