Sabahar was created in 2004 with a vision to combine the ‘wild’ silk recently introduced in Ethiopia with ancient skills and traditions to produce exquisite, handmade textile products for the global market. We want to create just and sustainable employment in Ethiopia through the profitable production and marketing of high quality silk and silk/cotton products. We produce uniquely designed, hand-made textile products.
Silk has played an important part in the social and religious life of Ethiopia from the earliest days of the kingdom of Aksum. Imported in large quantities from India, Arabia and China, silk fabric was unraveled in order to use the silk thread for weaving. It was stored in vast caverns in the highlands of the country. One of the hereditary titles of the governor of Shoa province was ‘keeper of the Silk Caves’ and from these stores, Ethiopian emperors would make impressive gifts of silk to the other churches in Christendom.
However, silk production is new in Ethiopia- only about 12 years old. It is already clear that there is huge potential to have an impact on poor households by diversifying the crops they are dependent on for survival. Silk production often becomes part of a diverse household economy as income that women earn and control. As such, it is more likely than not to be allocated to the health and education of the children.
This is how Sabahar was born. We believe that by promoting silk, we can have a positive impact on people and by creating beauty with the silk; we can help preserve a rich tradition.
Sabahar has three core values which guide us:
- Sustainability: Sabahar works with artisans to train them to apply their ancient skills to modern, fresh designs. By providing the bridge between the artisan and the global market, Sabahar hopes to provide reliable income for families.
- Innovation: Weaving is an ancient craft in Ethiopia but silk was only introduced to Ethiopia 12 years ago. We try to adopt tried and true traditional technologies to new fibers and products. We remain loyal to tradition while adjusting to contemporary tastes on the world market.
- Caring for each other: Our products are made with care, by people who we care about. We create positive work opportunities in Ethiopia, with an emphasis on employment for women.