Sabahar, our Fair Trade, Ethiopian partner, introduced eri silk to Ethiopia in 2004. They promote fair trade silk production in Ethiopia while increasing reliable, sustainable income for households and skilled artisans. Ethiopia is the 6th poorest country in the world. Finding employment is extremely difficult in the capital city of Addis Ababa where Sabahar is located. The artisans feel they are working amidst an oasis of stability in an otherwise harsh existence. They tell us that their work is meaningful to them and brings hope to their futures, allowing for growth, security and advancement in their lives. Sabahar employs over 70 spinners, dyers, weavers and finishers ranging in age from 20 to 63 years old. They are able to support their families through creating these handmade and fair trade woven goods and are given access to health care, transportation and a savings account. They feel secure, happy and acknowledged by the generous attitude of their employer and lovely surroundings where they work. Their children are all being educated. Equitable employment and environmentally friendly production and processing practices are values central to Sabahar and Woven Promises. The further goal of our partnership is to provide a continuous improvement in the quality of the artisans’ lives.
Traditionally weaving in Namibia is done by women artisans. They live in very simple rural villages or homesteads with their families in the Kavango River Region. They are very proud of their handwoven, fair trade baskets. They can work in the natural surroundings of their homes or gather together with members of their community. Purchase of these fair trade, handmade African baskets supports these very talented weavers directly and provides funds to educate at-risk girls through our partnership with a non-profit organization called FAWENA (which stands for Forum for African Women Educationalists in Namibia). Through FAWENA, which works closely with the Ministry of Education in Rundu, about 100 girls are being supported to continue their education in nearby schools. The weavers are paid a generous wage for their work and the girls in school have a wonderful opportunity to increase their choices in their futures. "Educate the girls and lift up the culture." (The Girl Effect)