Palm frond products sustain Egyptian village

Egyptian Kamela Ahmed learnt the intricate craft of 'Khoos' from her parents at the age of six.

Six decades later, the now-67-year-old has turned the generations-old skill of turning palm fronds into household items into a business which sustains her entire village of Al-Alaam, southwest of the capital, Cairo.

"My great grandparents did this job, making Khoos. I learnt it at the age of six. I taught myself and my siblings, my neighbors, and then I taught the village. Girls would finish school and come and learn. The whole village learned, and is working with Mrs. Kamela.”

The business has enabled the villagers to have some financial stability.

37-year-old mother of six, Sabah Qarni, says the work has provided her with a good income.

and 70-year-old Raeesa Mohamed, who has been working in Khoos for 50 years, was able to support her six daughters’ education.

Known for its intricate designs, Khoos is the craft of weaving bags, boxes, baskets and other products from the renewable palm fronds.

The product's natural material and authenticity have made it popular both in and outside of Egypt.

Ahmed says she and her fellow villagers are now producing on a mass scale, exporting to Arab and European countries, and even taking orders that pay in US dollars.

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