SAWA SAWA IMPACT PROGRAMS
Our mission is to use fashion to instill value and improve the quality of life for the artisan women and their families.
SAWA SAWA means ‘it will be okay’ in Swahili. It is our promise to the artisan women in small villages in Kenya who create our products. We founded SAWA SAWA to design and create fashion accessories and bags in the ways of old. We partner with women to harness ancient craftsmanship in beading, weaving, basketry and art.
We started this journey to create circular fashion, products that could be used and circulated responsibly and effectively in society for as long as possible and then returned safely to the earth when no longer of human use. We quickly learned that success for us was measured by more than just numbers. Through direct communication and empathetic listening, we understand the unique challenges facing individuals, families and communities in our artisan communities. We use the revenue from the fashion brand, donations and strategic partnerships to create lasting, sustainable solutions and improve the quality of life for the artisans while preserving the traditions, culture and craftsmanship.
SAWA SAWA has created two programs to impact and empower women and adolescent girls:
Economic Independence for Women.
- Our primary program is to ensure that every woman with the drive and willingness to create products for sale has the tools and materials to do so. To empower all women, we provide beads, sisal, crafting tools and other requested supplies to the artisan women needing some help to get started. We buy the end product from all women to give them an income. This allows the women to not only feed their families, but also helps develop self-confidence and pride in the community.
Reproductive Health to Keep Girls in School
- The most important thing in empowering girls and preparing them to become empowered women of substance is a proper, consistent education. We will provide reproductive health education and a menstruation hygiene kit to every girl in the artisan women’s villages, consisting of sanitary pads, underwear, and soap. We provide the village schools with these supplies for the girls as needed. The artisan women have constantly expressed a deep desire to see their daughters educated and successful. The lack of sanitary towels has been a huge hindrance for adolescent girls. 65% of girls in rural Kenya do not have access to period resources. During menstruation, girls are not allowed to attend school. They miss a week of school every month to bleed. Female anatomy is a taboo topic in most areas. In some homes, they are kicked out because they are “unclean.” By teaching the girls about the changes happening to their body and providing menstrual hygiene kits to them, the girls can have safety, dignity and privacy during their periods. Our program makes it possible for women to achieve equality and compete with men in the same environment.
Medical Camps for Women
Our partnership with Benacare enables us to bring heahe’s,care to the women artisans in their villages.
Our artisan villages are in Nairobi, Oliotoktok – on the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Maasai Mara, Ngong’, Kitui and Kiserian. We hope to add more villages as we grow and acquire more funding.
We hope to find like-minded organizations to help us create a safe space for girls to dream and achieve and empower women through work.
Click to read our concept paper.
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