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Sawa Sawa Collection: Underserved Population.

We are a 501c3 nonprofit fashion brand based in Austin, TX. Our products are handmade in Kenya by artisan women in underserved marginalized communities.

Our organization represents an underserved community of rural artisan women in Kenya. According to research done by PEP, 44% of women in Kenya are poor and 95% of the poor are live in rural areas. Partnership for economic policy suggests poverty reduction policies relating to female entrepreneurship could be a lasting solution.

Sawa Sawa Collection partners specifically with artisan women in central and Eastern Kenya from the Kikuyu, Kamba and Maasai tribes.

Kamba and Kikuyu tribes have traditionally been farmers, they rely on growing seasons to make a living. The Kamba were originally sculptors and long-distance traders. The Maasai are nomadic pastoralists, their income comes from cattle. They depend on pasture in open fields to graze.

The women in these tribes practice beading, weaving, basketry, and sculpting during their free time for ceremonial rites of passage. Our organization helps them supplement their income by partnering with them. We provide them with resources, tools and materials to make more handmade items. We help them improve the designs and quality of the items and buy them at a fair market price. We find a market for the fashion accessories, sandals, bags, art etc. in the USA. The revenue goes back to the artisan communities through our sustainability programs.

Most of these women are in polygamous marriages or are head of households. The diversified income helps them pay for basic needs and raise a healthy family. This helps pave a way for a generation shift out of poverty.

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Sawa Sawa Collection: Aid through Trade.

Sawa Sawa Collection artisan women handmade designs.
Sawa Sawa Collection artisan women in Kenya.

Our mission at Sawa Sawa Collection is to empower artisan women in Kenya live a sustainable, dignified life using skills passed down through generations in beading, weaving, basketry, sculpting, and art.

This helps them provide basic needs for their families, preserve the culture and be a source of economic development in the community.

By giving them a chance to make beautiful earrings, necklaces, shoes, bags, wraps, we give them a platform to share their craft with the world.

They gain economic empowerment which leads to social freedom and a healthier community.

We are passionate about our work and the impact it creates in every day lives of artisan women in Kenya.

Both founders of Sawa Sawa Collection have a background in Finance. They use their knowledge in commerce and trade to create positive, social change.

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Sawa Sawa Collection Sustainability.

At Sawa Sawa, we believe that trade is better than aid. Giving our artisan women an opportunity to get themselves out of poverty and strife through skills in beading, weaving, sculpting that they use in their everyday life.

This gives them pride in their achievements, self confidence and become a good example for the younger generations.

It reduces their reliance on international aid from organizations such as, the united nations, Action aid, OXfam, Usaid among others.

Putting a monetary value in the ancient, tribal beading, weaving, sculpting, basketry etc. helps preserve the cultural practices and teach future generations the history of the people while sustaining economic development.

Our sustainability program is based on trade. We provide the artisans with the tools, materials, resources and training they need. We help them find lasting solutions to other pressing problems that hinder their productivity and quality of life. Finally, we buy all the handmade products at a fair market value to create a complete cycle.

We sell the products in the USA and put the money back into our programs and the artisan communities.

We have seen a direct result in poverty eradication, female empowerment, economic freedom and overall quality of life.

Help us, Shop our artisan line, donate, volunteer your time and skills, share our mission with a friend.

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Learn more about our mission.

At Sawa Sawa Collection, we aim to create a group of self helping artisan women in Kenya.

We foster a few programs that help women create lasting solutions to the unique cultural and economic challenges they face.

Our two major programs are;

1. Providing the artisan women with resources, for example, beads, leather, strings, tool kits etc. They create beautiful accessories, shoes, bags, art using ancient skills. They learn these skills throughout their life.

2. We buy the products from them at a fair, market price. We assist them with modern, contemporary designs that keep the authenticity of the time-tested tribal craftsmanship.

This creates a sustainable wage they can rely on. They are able to provide for their families, have economic freedom and be a source of economic development.

See more about our programs on our PayPal donation page. Here.

Our goal this coming year is to create a resource center in Kenya. Make it a safe place for women to support each other and get all the help they need.

We appreciate all the help we have received this far.

Donations, grants and buying our artisan accessories, shoes and bags.

Happy Holidays to all.

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Kate and the Artisans

Our co-founder kate spending some quality time with the artisans. We love to be in the same space learning from them and hearing about their every day routines. It is in walking in their shoes that we learn how we can be of service to them and help them fulfill their potential.

Sawa Sawa Collection co-founder Kate with the artisans.
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Our first community event! 😁

Today was my very first vending event! So exciting! Selling online is warm and cozy but going out to the community and introducing our worthy work to neighbors and other entrepreneurs is interesting and exciting.

It was Thursday, the event was previously meant to be last weekend but we got rained out. It seemed warm and nice out but quickly got very cold! Thank God we have our Maasai scarves, they kept me warm.

There wasn’t enough human traffic (It was very cold and a week day) but I made $20. Yay!

I learnt a lot today, great way to dive into vending. Will definitely file this day as part of the growth process and try again next weekend!

Thanks to the people at Texas Street Grill in Lakeway, TX for hosting the event and Lakeway Market days for organizing it.

See y’all next weekend at the Family Beer Company in Dripping Springs!

Any advice for this newbie? Comment below, send a DM on Facebook or Instagram.

As always,

Anne Drane.

Stay warm.

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Wangari Maathai. An inspiration for environmentalists everywhere!

Wangari Maathai was not only an amazing woman who fought tooth and nail to protect the environment. She was also a woman that inspired cultural and tribal women to aspire to more than what our male dominated culture offers us. She searched for a higher education, a higher purpose and a world outside of our own. She fought corruption and powerful men to protect the forests and the nature that depended on it. She believed in herself even when everyone else didn’t. She inspires the young ladies to know their self worth and fight for their place in this world.

We honor her, her achievements and her memory as the first in our Gladiatrix series. She was a bold, brave and strong woman.

She inspires young women and men all over the world that love nature and the environment and are willing to make great sacrifices to protect it.

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The kiondo

Coming soon to our collection is the hand woven sisal bag called the Kiondo. It was traditionally used by the women in Kenya to go to the market. Today, they have become a luxury and fashion item. Handmade from organic sisal fiber, they are eco friendly, biodegradable, humane, ethical and most of all, helps the women that craft them make a sustainable living. They are also high quality, beautiful and made to last a lifetime. The name kiondo which is from the Kikuyu tribe and the design were stolen and patented by the japanese after a visit to Kenya.

@sawasawausa working with Zafarani Afrika goes to the villages and works with the women to design a kiondo that is a perfect size and design for the modern woman. They are lined with cotton material on the inside and decorated with beads. Some have a zipper or fastened with clasps. However you like them, we can make them. I like the kiondo completely simple like they made them a thousand years ago with the sense of authenticity and originality intact 🙂

They are also great items for interior decor and organising.

Here are some pictures from Kenya. Let us know how you like your kiondo on www.facebook.com/sawasawausa

www.instagram.com/sawasawausa

Our business aims to support more fair trade businesses and artisans in Kenya. 💞👜

In the spirit of protecting our environment, ditch the plastic paper bags and adopt the kiondo!

The pictures were taken in the Kenyan markets displayed by the artisans who craft them.

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From the streets of Nairobi Maasai Market

We go a long way to ensure that our items are fair trade and have been ethically sourced. We value and greatly respect the craft and the beauty it creates. Kenyan handmade fashion items have been a global inspiration. We went to the streets of Nairobi Maasai Market to see what was out there and find an inspiration for the next @sawasawausa collection.

Here are some pictures. Thanks to my partner Kate founder of fb.me/zafaraniafrikabykatesaich 💞

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Our new Kikoy Collection

Our Kenyan Kikoy Collection. Also known as Sarong, Shuka, or blanket is made from an acrylic fiber. Every woman has one. Typically tied around the waist during traditional ceremonies. It’s perfect for a beach towel this summer as it is light weight, absorbent and fast drying. It is also surprisingly warm.

It is ethically sourced in a fair trade market through our partnership with Zafarani Africa.

Available for both retail and wholesale.

Send me a message with any questions. Planning a safari, get one of these kikoys and ask me all the questions you want to.

As always follow us on instagram and like our facebook @sawasawausa