Jirmit Papyrus Center

Jirmit Papyrus Group is a registered fair trade organization that aims to generate work for unemployed young people in the Egyptian town of Mallawi. In this regional capital in Upper Egypt, about 300 kilometers south of Cairo, employment opportunities are hard to find. Artisans with this family-owned workshop make hand-painted cards, bookmarks and other art on authentic Egyptian papyrus. Handmade papyrus is an ancient form of paper first known to have been used in Egypt 5,000 years ago.



Emad Ekram Attia started Jirmit Papyrus in 1990, as a way to earn an income while finding a creative outlet for his artistic talents. Papyrus art preserves an Egyptian artistic tradition, while honoring the Coptic Church’s practice of commemorating saints through use of painted icons. Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from Jirmit Papyrus Group since 1993 (through MCC Egypt initially, directly since 2003).



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Jirmit Papyrus Group

Jirmit Papyrus Group is a registered fair trade organization that aims to generate work for unemployed young people in the Egyptian town of Mallawi. In this regional capital in Upper Egypt, about 300 kilometers south of Cairo, employment opportunities are hard to find. Artisans with this family-owned workshop make hand-painted cards, bookmarks and other art on authentic Egyptian papyrus. Handmade papyrus is an ancient form of paper first known to have been used in Egypt 5,000 years ago. Production of lightweight, durable papyrus paper was revived in the 20th century, and is continued today by groups like Jirmit Papyrus.



Emad Ekram Attia started Jirmit Papyrus in 1990, as a way to earn an income while finding a creative outlet for his artistic talents. Papyrus art preserves an Egyptian artistic tradition, while honoring the Coptic Church’s practice of commemorating saints through use of painted icons. As the workshop grew, Attia taught other artisans the traditional methods of painting on papyrus. Jirmit Papyrus has been a member of the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT) since 2001.



Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from Jirmit Papyrus Group since 1993 (through MCC Egypt initially, directly since 2003).




  • Jirmit Papyrus Group was founded in 1990.

  • In 2001, Jirmit Papyrus became a member of the International Fair Trade Association, and registered as a fair trade organization.

  • Jirmit Papyrus employees are 65 percent women, 35 percent men.

  • Five artisans work at Jirmit Papyrus’s workshop and 12 work from their homes.

  • 32 other artisans work part-time as Jirmit Papyrus is able to provide orders.

  • Artisans are paid per card, and can usually make up to 25 cards per day.

  • Jirmit Papyrus aims to preserve the history and culture of ancient Egypt by painting on papyrus paper.

  • Five percent of Jirmit Papyrus sales are local, 95 percent for export.

  • Ten Thousand Villages currently carries papyrus greeting cards and bookmarks from Jirmit Papyrus.

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