Weaving is a centuries-old tradition in Abu Dhabi, with Emirati women using palm leaves, fronds, animal skins and rudimentary textiles to create a variety of beautiful pieces, from tents to clothing and even date and water containers.
The Sougha social initiative, a Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED) programme, aims to revive this art among the people of Abu Dhabi and ensure its survival.
Sougha – meaning a traveller’s gift in Arabic – encourages Emirati women to reconnect with a significant part of the emirate’s heritage, with these local female artists actively preserving their culture while making a living using skills passed down through generations.
The result of their craft is a colourful, hand-woven collection of treasures, including pillows, table runners, palm leaf beach bags, traditional embroidered bracelets and more, all of which make wonderful gifts.
Travellers looking for authentic souvenirs can now visit Sougha’s shop in Abu Dhabi’s Central Market souk (market).