The story of Basma, between courage and passion

Jacopo Battistini28 December 2023

Christian, female, disabled. Basma is a young Palestinian girl from Bethlehem, suffering from a rare syndrome that has deformed her face and body. But Basma is not only that. She has a gift. Basma started working with terracotta as a child, and has never stopped since. Her hands, scarred by illness, are able to create delicate and harmonious shapes. Her eyes, hollowed out by the syndrome, sparkle with passion and creativity.

In a society like the Palestinian one, where women are often discriminated against and people with disabilities are marginalized, Basma has managed to build her art workshop and her business. “I’ve had a passion for terracotta since I was a child, I don’t remember how it was born, it’s just always been with me. The most important thing was the love and support of my family who always made me feel accepted and allowed me to study this discipline.”

Basma speaks Italian very well, she studied it at school in Bethlehem and has visited Italy several times to observe the techniques of other artisans like her. And so she tells the story of her business. “It’s not normal for women to work here, or rather, it’s only become normal in recent difficult times from an economic point of view.” Bethlehem’s society is male-dominated, and it is often not easy for a girl to be heard in public life if she is not accompanied by a man.

At most, if you are in Basma’s condition. Despite this, she decided to start her own business anyway. “It wasn’t easy, especially at the beginning. I love very much what I do and I think it hurts an artist’s heart to see that their works are not appreciated. In fact, initially I didn’t have any customers, but slowly people started to notice me. A turning point was the Pro Terra Sancta Bazaar, which began to buy my products and resell them in its online shop.” With the ongoing war and the absence of pilgrims, many businesses like those in Basma are suffering an unprecedented economic crisis, Pro Terra Sancta tries to support as many activities of this kind as possible through its Fair Trade Bazaar, one of the few shops in Bethlehem to also have an online shop to support some of the city’s merchants.

Basma is an example of courage and determination. Her story is a message of hope for all those who face challenges and discrimination. Her works are not only artistic expressions, but also tell the story of a young woman who turned adversity into opportunity. Basma has proven that passion and creativity can overcome any obstacle, inspiring those who encounter her story. Her works tell the story of a young woman who did not let difficulties get her down, and who turned her passion into a job and a message of hope for the world.

In conclusion, Basma is much more than a woman, she is a courageous artist and an inspiration. Her story teaches us that passion, combined with determination and family support, can create a bright path even in the most difficult circumstances. Her art goes beyond the surface, reaching the hearts of anyone who encounters his work.