Swahili Modern is proud to carry these stunning baskets from Rwanda. Not only are these pieces beautiful to look at, they also create sustainability for local women. Behind this beauty and empowerment is a company called, Songa Designs.
Defined as "the path forward" in Swahili, Songa Designs is synonymous with the journey toward economic empowerment for women in developing countries.
Songa Designs International empowers a new generation of women in Rwanda by combining their traditional weaving skills with modern design. It is typical for many women in developing countries to depend solely on their husbands for financial needs, but Songa Designs is changing this dynamic. By working for Songa, under-resourced women are encouraged to pursue economic independence, simply by using skills acquired through everyday life.
Songa Designs provides jobs for over 150 women who in turn negotiate their own salaries and earn fair wages, which enables them to buy land, health insurance or send their children to school for the first time.
Trained by generations of local cultural tradition, the skilled artisans in Rwanda in East Africa craft stylish, high-quality accessories inspired by nature. Each handmade item is tightly woven with all-natural materials such as banana leaf fiber, sisal plant, pewter, re-purposed cow horn and up-cycled fabric that otherwise would end up in landfills.
Songa Designs combines eco-friendly materials, international reach, and on-trend statement pieces to show how your personal style can have a profound impact across the globe.
Story and photos by Sarah Sternberg, Songa Designs