Hand spinning and weaving are century-old skills in Ethiopia that once were, highly respected. However, because of the increased availability of large-scale manufactured textiles from within the country and abroad, this craft is slowly disappearing. Ethiopian artisans rarely work in the formal sector. Informal sector work does not guarantee decent salaries or consistent work. As a result, many artisans want to discontinue their craft for “higher status work”.
We have a team of dedicated and skilled artisans, some of whom have worked for us since 2006. The artisans are provided fair wages and sustainable employment. They attend trainings regularly, both to build their capacity in their respective areas of specialization but also to help them better manage their finances, their health and homes.
Our artisans and workers are divided into 8 departments. They each contribute to our making process in their own way.
Our spinning department is made of 5 talented artisans. From left to right: Estalemahu, Jerus, Yalemsew, Enanu and Yeshi. They hand spin cotton and silk into thread on spinning wheels. On average, each one has worked at Sabahar for about eight years.
Dereje, Worku, Chane and Kassahun (from left to right) dye our natural textiles using flowers or eco-friendly dyes. It's with their special skills that we create our rich palette of colors.
Our process requires a lot of weavers. From left to right, we present you Engidawork, Mellcamu, Degy, Cherfo, Gelani, Amsalu, Simegn, Azlech, Aweke, Worke, Gedefaw, Ayele, Ermias, Anteneh, Bedilu, Esubalew, Abera, Shiferaw and Habtamu.
Sintayehu, Bayoush, Buzuayehu, Tsigeneda, Kidist and Dinkenesh (left to right) make up our sewing department. They make our cushions and finish all the products that require sewing such as the shawls with eyelash fringes and kaftans and jackets.
Worke, Serkalem, Mestawet, Yeshiwa, Banchi, Genet and Fikiradis (from left to right) make up our fringing department. They hand twist every single fringe and knot them at the end.
All our products are washed and ironed by different members of the finishing department as they rotate this task. In this picture you can find Abraraw, Kaba and Desta.
The finishing department sews on the labels, cleans off excess and unnecessary threads, cuts the fringes so they are uniform and finally quality checks every product. This group has been with Sabahar the longest with some of them working at Sabahar since the beginning. From left to right, you can find Jerusalem, Yimenashu, Woynishet, Mastewal, Mistre, Yeshiwork, Genet, Kelemua, Birhane, Aberash, Tigist, Mehret and Tiringo.
8. Support staff
Emebet and Selam (on the left) are our cleaners and general support staff. They prepare tea each morning for all the employees and hand out their daily bread roll to each of them. With them is Hiwot and Shiferaw. Hiwot is the Salesperson in the Addis Ababa shop and Shiferaw is our Production Manager.
A big garden like Sabahar's needs maintenance! That is why we have the precious help of Menuye, Wudeneh and Kindie. They take care of the plants and the compound.