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.