An exhibitor works at his stall during the Diarna Exhibition for Handmade crafts and Heritage in Cairo, Egypt, on Feb. 16, 2021. More than 300 exhibitors from 27 governorates showcase their products in the 61st edition of Diarna, which kicked off on Feb. 15 and will last to Feb. 25. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)
by Marwa Yahya
CAIRO, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- "The exhibition is a good opportunity to market the handmade products that express our identity and the heritage of our ancestors," said Hanan Meqabel, a lady in her 40s who has taken part in the Diarna Exhibition for Handmade crafts and Heritage.
More than 300 exhibitors from 27 governorates are showcasing their products in the 61st edition of Diarna, which kicks off on Feb. 15 and will last to Feb. 25 in the fifth settlement district in the east of capital Cairo.
Under the title "Egypt speaks via crafts" and inaugurated by the Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity Nivine El-Kabbag, the exhibition gathers handicrafts, Nubian and Sinai sculptures, Siwa Oasis dates, and embedded leather from Shalateen.
Most of the exhibitors are women, disabled, and non-governmental organizations, with the UN Refugee Agency in Egypt as a guest of honor.
"This is the third time to showcase our products in this important exhibition," Meqabel, the board director of a small and medium project association in North Sinai, northeast of Cairo, told Xinhua.
"It's the only chance for marketing our products so far this year after the production cycle has been halted due to the spread of COVID-19," said Meqabel, noting that the exhibitions help the capital cycle to continue and ladies to resume their work.
Meqabel explained that her association employs 200 ladies who produce bags, garments, and scarves as a source of income.
However, she lamented that the suspension of the international tourism over the pandemic concerns has caused stagnation of her products that mainly target the tourists.
"Creating one dress of the local materials of Sinai might take three months in the best way that resembles our old heritage," she said.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Fawzi, who came from Beheira province, in the north of Cairo, and displays tablecloths decorated with wool, said he considers heritage products a gateway to participating in various exhibitions.
"My mission is to revive the pharaonic craft of decorating tablecloths with wool, natural leather, and brass that has vanished in the 1980s," Fawzi said.
He added that the exhibition saw a good number of visitors despite fears of the virus.
Shaymaa Demirdash, a housewife that was wandering the various booths praised the expo for providing diversified products from many areas in Egypt.
"I came to buy some high-quality and unique souvenirs for my son who lives in Germany," Demirdash said.
The Egyptian minister of social solidarity said the timing of the expo "is a clear message that we are determined to work and produce at all time no matter the challenges," adding that the expo will promote the means of exchanging experience among exhibitors.
The handicraft exhibition is held every year in several provinces, with the largest one in Cairo.
The ongoing edition is organized in accordance with the health ministry's anti-coronavirus precautionary measures with the partnership of Egyptian Red Crescent. Enditem