Ethiopian Immigrants Start Handicraft Business

Thirty Ethiopian women who emigrated to Israel during Operation Moses in the Winter of 1984-85, are now involved in the Ethiopian Israeli Cottage Industry (EICI) Ltd., a nonprofit organization which pays them to pursue their handicrafts — for a profit.

In between housework and taking care of her four children, Taganio Matoko weaves baskets made of date fronds and wrapped with colored thread. Other women embroider dresses, challah covers and yarmulkes.

Walter Harburger founded the EICI as a way to help the Ethiopian immigrants and to preserve their culture. He plans to send the Ethiopian women’s works to synagogues and Jewish community centers around the world.