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Mode with Meaning: Songa Designs



Defined as “the path forward” in Swahili, Songa is synonymous with the journey toward economic empowerment for women in developing countries.

Songa Designs International is a lifestyle and accessories brand that empowers a new generation of women and makes a positive impact around the world. Working with under-resourced women of Rwanda in East Africa, Songa provides more than 150 artisans with employment opportunities that allow them to achieve economic independence simply by using skills acquired through everyday life. Trained by generations of local cultural tradition, the skilled artisans of Songa craft stylish, high-quality accessories and home décor items to bolster one’s personal and interior style. Each piece in the Songa line is inspired by nature and made of natural materials such as banana leaf fiber, sisal plant, pewter, re-purposed cow horn, and paper beads that otherwise would end up in landfills.


Modeliste was thrilled to have the opportunity to partner alongside Songa Designs and Shay Mitchell.

Special Mention and thanks to Bhavana World Project.  Bhavana World Project is a social enterprise working to advance economic and social empowerment for women’s small businesses in Africa and Asia. As a collaborator on our Rwanda shoot, Bhavana helped us reach the talented designers highlighted in this issue. To learn more about their work in Rwanda and other parts of the world go to


Special thanks to Derma E and Kai fragrances for their generous donations to the women of Songa Design’s cooperatives in Rwanda.

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