Story of SAWA SAWA as told by co-founders Anne and Catherine.

SAWA SAWA Collection is a 501(c)(3) non-profit fashion brand registered in Austin, Texas. We are a slow, ethical, fair, sustainable fashion line handmade by artisan women in Kenya. Our goal is sustainable economic development and empowerment for the women in rural Kenya. We partner with the women to harness skills in beading, weaving, basketry, art and more. Our partnership helps the women make a sustainable, dignified income to provide for their families and lift themselves out of poverty. 

We are a black woman founded and run organization. Founded by Anne Drane in Austin, Texas and Catherine Wambui Ngara in Nairobi, Kenya. Our sustainable, ethically made, fairly sourced products are crafted by women for women. We are a female force.

SAWA SAWA Collection has also established educational programs for rural women that provide birth control information and resource contacts, and female empowerment.  Traditional and religious protocols often cause the women of rural Kenya to find themselves trapped – emotionally, and financially.  By facilitating an increased standard of living and instructing our artisans on the resources and options that are available to them, SAWA SAWA Collection seeks to help end dependency and promote confidence and independence.

Based in Dripping Springs, Texas, just west of Austin, SAWA SAWA Collection celebrates the brave, bold, hardworking, and resilient African artisan woman. Our earrings, necklaces, bracelets, accessories, shoes, clothing, sculptures, bags, and works of art are intricately handcrafted in Kenya using age-old traditional techniques, and are sourced through fair trade practices and our partnerships with artisan families.

By incorporating a chic, feminine, and modern style with traditional craftwork methods, our designers work to create an affordable fashionable collection – with a dash of luxury.  We hope we have produced a style destination for the modern, inspired woman while providing the artisan women in Kenya with a sustainable, dignified income to support their families, and to share their designs and love of their craft with the world.

We also work with local Kenyan communities to bring sustainable solutions to day to day problems through programs funded by grants and product sales. These include clean water access, nutritious food choices, female empowerment programs healthcare, and eradication of poverty and dependency.

About Me:  Anne Drane – Co-founder – SAWA SAWA Collection

I was born and raised in Kenya.  I now reside in Dripping Springs, Texas (15 miles west of Austin) with my husband, Walter, and daughter, Haley.  I never really appreciated the beauty and charm of the Kenyan culture until I moved to the USA.  Looking at my culture from ‘outside the box’, I realized how unique and inspired it is. It has taken thousands of years to develop and perfect into the amazing, vibrant state of quality and design it is today.

I am inspired by the women. They are brave, resilient, hard-working and talented. We make a direct social and economic impact in their everyday lives and make life a little easier. It is such a joy learning from the women and spending time with their families. Our co-founder Kate and I are able to use our knowledge and skills in business, our love for the Kenyan culture and our passion for purpose to change the world for the women one handmade item at a time. The women find pride in sending their girls to school and opening their world up to more choices. We are grateful for the opportunity to be useful and to serve humanity.

Catherine Mung’ara

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