Youthink! The World Bank's blog for youth
Syndicate content

Money or Art?

Christine Sedky's picture

So when I started to work with the khayameya I realized that my intention and the intentions of the khayameya workers were different. Not different in that we couldn’t agree, but just coming from different perspectives, which in the end turned out to be complementary. I had this idealistic, ambitious vision of simultaneously retaining craftsmanship, reviving cultural heritage, creating employment opportunities, etc…. For them, it is simply a source of income. Many are gifted in the craft, some tell me it is their favorite time of day when they work, and for others it's just work. But they don’t do it for idealistic reasons, they do it because they have inherited or been taught a way of living. So for Ayadi’s work to be successful we had to bridge the workers' perspectives as well as the vision of Ayadi. 

They initially didn’t understand my interest in them. Why I wanted to go to the workshops, why I wanted to sit and chat with the women, how I didn’t mind spending hours with them drinking tea. But nonetheless, they liked me because I was creating more work and thus more income for them.  And they realized I brought in different perspectives, and that we all benefited. I would bring in new color schemes, materials and designs. 

I realized from them that they are right, it cannot be driven by dreams and visions but actually must have economic sustainability into it. The vision of retaining cultural heritage must work on two fronts: the visionary side as well as the financial side. If you are working to create more employment for them, then you will be able to save the craft. Usually, traditional craftsman are poor and minimally educated, but very gifted in their craft. 

Some are driven by money, some are driven by passion…it seems best to marry these two.


Submitted by Felipe Parra on
Hi. Um... I just wanted to say that I posted recently in the "So... what happens after I graduate?" and there are some things there that you may find interesting for your reflexion. Yes with a million exclamation marks because that's something very few people understand when reaching out to people that are in the crafts industries. Since many of them have never worked themselves on it (or even developed one as a hobby) they have a different mind-frame about what the work really is -some too many, suffer a Messiah Complex. So, when you try and reach people and tell them that they can have more money too, they'll feel naturaly happy and some obliged to listen to you. It's about wealth and well-being. May I suggest that you present some of them with information on exercises of preventive nature so their hands and eyes keep healthy, ergo, sustaining their productivity and preventing accidents? It may be very interesting... Thanks for the good work. Keep up. :)