About Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council


Representing both traditional and modern crafts across the MENASEA and Central Asia regions, working with partner organisations and championing artisans and designers, the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council is looking at the empowerment of women professionally and socially.

The council aims to provide a fresh narrative for women, by developing new market opportunities, and sectors, delivering social development programmes and vocational training, as well as preserving the skills and rich cultural heritage of the UAE for current and future generations through its five initiatives:

  • Bidwa Social Development Programme, which employs 40 artisans and provides them with vocational training and helps them find new markets for their skills through commercial collaborations and regional artisan exchange programmes.
  • Artisan Skills Exchange Programme, which enables the development of artisans’ capacities and technical skills as well as social development through a series of artisanal skill exchanges within the MENASEA region.
  • Hirfati Youth Programme that seeks to train and engage with the next generation of designers and artists through a mix of activities that combine traditional and contemporary crafts.
  • Azyame Fashion Entrepreneurs Programme that aims to develop the next generation of UAE-based fashion designers through training, mentoring and business development.
  • Crafts Dialogue, a unique project that brings together the Council with Barcelona-based Creative Dialogue to create works, which will marry Emirati and international crafts into contemporary designs.

Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council is an affiliate of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, an organisation that was established under an Amiri decree by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah.

Our Vision:

A valued women artisan economy

Our Mission:

To empower women practising the crafts through capacity building programmes and accessing new sustainable markets, whilst preserving and protecting its cultural heritage for future generations.

About NAMA Women Advancement Establishment


NAMA Women Advancement Establishment was established in 2015 under an Emiri Decree by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, and is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah.

Our core philosophy at NAMA is to raise awareness that women are an indispensable human resource for the development of every nation. NAMA was conceived to go beyond the remit of supporting women and ensuring gender equality to a broader scope that aims to see women become influential key members of society, thereby enabling them to climb the ladder of success.

Sharjah Business Women Council, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, and Badiri Education and Development Academy, fall under the umbrella of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment.

Our Vision:

An Equitable World for Women

Our Mission:

To provide an enabling environment for women to access knowledge, services, support systems and resources, through a development network that advances them to reach their highest potential.