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  • Kianna Leaa

Katchin up with Kuchinate

The African refugee women's collective located in Tel Aviv Israel, that creates handmade accessories from African frabics. Let's uncover their world...

March 30th, I got lost in one of the most beautiful neighbourhood in Tel Aviv called Neve Tzedek. It’s not often, I wander aimlessly but when I do, I can discover some true hidden gems.

Walking down Shabazi street, I landed at the Kuchinate shop. The name itself means crochet in Tigrinya. I was drawn to the shop for the colorful and unique accessories they carry. Without hesitation, I entered the shop and met Luli from Argentina & her colleague who welcomed me with open arms. They told me told me all about the psychosocial project of Kuchinate who’s aim is to empowering the vulnerable African asylum seeking women, survivors of human trafficking, sexual violence and torture resulting in psychological distress, physical trauma & unwanted pregnancies. Upon their arrival in Israel, these women were detained in over-crowded facilities & eventually released in southern part of Tel Aviv. There, they struggled to access basic services such as health care, housing, education & employment. Thanks to Kuchinate, these women’s lives changed for the better.

Through the establishment of the Kuchinate project, these women were able to gather in a safe environment to support one another in a therapeutic manner to cope with the difficult realities they dealt with and deal with post trauma. These women collectively worked with one another to express their creativity through the production of handmade accessories which they sell to the public all while make a living for themselves and sharing their emotional stories with everyone and anyone who crosses paths with them.

I had the honor of joining Luli and her colleague for my very first traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean coffee ceremony where we had the chance to talk about life in Tel Aviv, Kuchinate and their involvement in this project! I was very moved by the the whole Kuchinate project and the passion of Luli and her colleague who worked at the shop.

For more on the Kuchinate project, visit their website & Instagram page.


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