Africa eco conscious

Songa Designs: Handbag Collection Empowers Rwandan Women

Wednesday, November 02, 2016 Kali

We're no newbies to Songa Designs, an eco-friendly fashion and home decor brand that helps provide economic independence for women in develop countries. I already own one of their beautiful necklaces that we featured in the past. Now, I'm happy to announce their recent release of their Fall 2016 Boho Handbag Collection!

A brand with purpose, Songa Designs handbags are carefully crafted by Rwandan women over the course of a week and helps create economic independence for each artisan. Known for their specialty accessories and baskets, Songa now offers consumers socially conscious handbags to expand their personal style. The collection was created using traditional Rwandan weaving techniques passed down through families over generations. Each purse is solely composed of locally sourced and recycled materials that otherwise would have ended up in landfills. The collection, released on October 15, 2016, will be available through the end of 2016.

"I am so proud of this collection," said Sarah Sternberg, founder of Songa Designs. "The handbags have a unique look that blends perfectly the earthy and rooted fell of Rwanda with the free-spirited bohemian. The extraordinary women of Songa are what inspire me to keep innovating and expanding our product line. We'll be releasing new handbag collections every four months moving forward to keep our designs fresh!"

The Fall 2016 collection will feature:

The Zuri Handbag, (above left, MSRP $62, meaning "beautiful" in Swahili) is the first piece to utilize maize leaves, along with sisal plant with an inner brown fabric lining.

The Jacqueline Handbag (above right, MSRP $76), handwoven with banana leaves and adorned with re-purposed cow horn, is named after one of the women artisans employed by Songa Designs. Jacqueline presented her original design to Songa as a possible product to add to the collection. Songa purchased the design rights, and now the bag serves as an inspiration and encouragement to other women to create their own designs.
"After the genocide, life was difficult," explains Jacqueline, creator of the Jacqueline Handbag. "We were living in a small home that we rented, and were always asked to pay more and more money. I could not find a job and if my husband got sick we were afraid. But now that I have a job with Songa, I am the breadwinner. We are no longer renting and I can afford school for my children and health insurance for my family."

Each part of Songa Designs, down to its name, thrives to support Rwandan women on their journey toward financial liberation. Crafted with fair trade principles in mind, Songa Designs currently provides 150 women in Rwanda with the opportunity to make their own income using special skills they acquired at a young age. For the first time, many of their artisans are earning a high enough wage to purchase plots of land, send their children to school, purchase livestock, and provide support to their families.
For more information and to purchase accessories, baskets, or a handbag visit

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