|Bethlehem woman makes homemade chocolates|
|Written by English.news.cn|
|Sunday, 15 May 2011 16:12|
BETHLEHEM -- Majeda Salaa works every day to make various kinds of chocolates in a factory that is considered as the first of its kind on the Palestinian territories in the West Bank. The factory, named "Sweetie", does not belong to any famous chocolate manufacturer, but lies in the Palestinian woman's home in the small town of Beit Sahour in Bethlehem city.
The manual workshop, established in 2009, consists of three small rooms: one room with mixers and templates for making chocolates, one for packaging, and another for display and sales.
While being busy working to make her favorite chocolates, Salaa told Xinhua that her small project derived from an idea to do something special and at the same time improve the living conditions of the family.
"Our financial circumstances were extremely hard, so I decided to get a loan through Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, which provides finance to small projects presented by Palestinian women, " Salaa said, adding that the funds of the chamber of commerce usually comes from Italy.
Salaa presented a proposal of her project and was granted a loan. "I didn't believe and I was extremely glad when the answer to finance my project was positive. I felt like my proposal was accepted and my dream of establishing my own factory has become true," she said.
"First I went to France to learn how to make chocolates manually and then I took an academic course on how to make real chocolates," Salaa said, adding that she tried several times until she managed to manually make real chocolates.
Salaa makes various kinds of chocolates, mainly regular and black chocolates. She also managed to make white chocolates and other kinds of chocolates mixed with ginger, raisins, dates and nuts.
Referring to one of the chocolate mixers, Salaa said the machine was locally made and it all depends on the person who operates it "to make sure that we put enough ingredients without adding any chemicals or industrial materials."
"We usually use the raw materials of best quality that are usually used in Europe, in addition to using the natural stuff such as herbs and other kinds of materials that can be found in the local markets," she said, adding that "it wasn't easy at all to make chocolates that everybody likes."
Salaa's products have joined several local exhibitions. The 49- year-old, who represents a sample of the Palestinian women who help their families overcome the difficulties of life, hopes that one day she will be able to participate in the Arab and international exhibitions.
Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad enjoyed tasting her handmade chocolates, Salaa said, adding that "I'm so proud they tasted my chocolates when they visited Bethlehem several months ago. They said they like it so much."
She said a French delegation had also visited her small factory and decided to pay her some funds to develop the shop. "They funded 30 percent of (money for) developing the factory and I paid the rest."
In a place like Bethlehem that usually witnesses lots of holidays and feasts, Saslaa has to work hard during these days to make chocolates for customers not only from the Palestinian territories, but from all over the world.
The customers coming to the sales room where nice and attractive packages of chocolates are displayed are usually received by Salaa's husband Issam el-Hayek, an engineer who said he also likes to sell chocolates.
"I hope that the Palestinian (National) Authority would one day back our small project. Although our chocolates are homemade, they are considered as products of the nation that need to be supported for their sale in the market," he said.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 08:09|