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Cultural Heritage Enrichment Center "CHEC"

The Cultural Centre for Revitalizing and Developing of Cultural Heritage

The Arafat soap factory in the old city of Nablus has been renovated to make it suitable for use as a multi- purpose cultural centre.
The centre provides a suitable space for use by children, young adults and students of art, architecture and cultural heritage, especially those living in the old city.
The latter will be able to participate in researches relating to Nablus and the preservation of architectural heritage. They will also take part in revitalizing its cultural activity.

The centre comprises five divisions which are:

Permanent exhibition of traditional soap making for which Nablus was famous. The exhibition includes pictures of this industry which used to take place in the building and the old tools.
Children's audio – visual centre aimed at developing children's mental ability as well as enhancing their awareness of their cultural heritage.
A library which comprises a lecture hall, for children as well as specialists. It offers material dealing with local and world heritage.
A gallery – cum - artistic activity room with space for exhibition by young promising artists.
A club for traditional crafts like soap, hand-woven rags and ceramics. This will open the way for artistic creation and also for developing these crafts to suit changing market needs.
It maybe stated here that the centre makes it possible for visitors to buy hard as well as liquid soap made of Palestinian olive oil. Also on sale are hand- woven rugs and ceramics. Revenue from selling these products finances cultural activities of the center.
Finally the above has been accomplished through the generous contribution of Saba and Afaf Arafat. Our grateful thanks are also due to the following that have supported our activities. The Barakat Trust, The Australian Consulate, The Cultural Fund of Ministry of Culture, supported by The Norwegian Consulate,  The General Consulate of France in Jerusalem, The Prince Clause Fund in Amsterdam, Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, The Aga Khan Award. Nor must we forget to offer our grateful thanks to the many individuals who helped us to realize this dream. Last but not least, our thanks go to architect Naseer R. Arafat who realized this dream.


The Sheikh Amr Arafat Foundation

Saba and Afaf Arafat have long considered setting up a charitable foundation which would honor their father's name and their family's history.
It would rekindle interest in the old city of Nablus. The latter is 2000 years old and is regarded by UNISCO of "outstanding universal value" according to article 12 of the World Heritage Convention. It would also initiate and carry out projects that would revitalize the city both socially and culturally. Further its authentic architecture would not be over looked.

The foundation was set up in 1997already. One important project has been completed, and is in good working order; it is in the Cultural Heritage Center, formerly the Arafat soap factory which architect Naseer Arafat renovated.
It combines an art gallery, a library, a lecture hall and soap museum, also included art rooms factories such as pottery, ceramics and weaving of wool carpets, in addition to the above, the foundation would extend financial support to needy students in local universities and to young individuals wanting to start small businesses.
The soap factory project will be followed by a developmental centre to be erected on a plot of land, close toAn Najah University and devoted for the purpose.

Saba and Afaf Arafat:

Saba was formerly an English specialist with UNESCO and chief of education, UNRWA west bank. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees Birzeit University; she had received her education in England and the U.S.A.

As for artist Afaf, she also studied her subject in England and the U.S.A. She was responsible for formulating art curricula with the Jordan Ministry of education, and UNESCO specialist for visual arts.

(see also Arts)




http://www.amrarafat.org


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