Swahili African Modern

Swahili African Modern is a U.S. import, design and distribution company that promotes fair trade creations. Swahili's African network includes individual artisans and micro-enterprises in the nations of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, Lesotho, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana and South Sudan. Leslie Mittelberg founded Swahili Imports, Inc. in June 1995 in Eugene, Oregon. A former resident of Nairobi, Kenya, Leslie named the company "Swahili" after the people of East Africa whose artistry inspired her entrepreneurship. Swahili believes that hardworking African artisans, producers and export agents hold the key to their own personal success, and that the path to success requires a steady, committed pace. Swahili extends each artisan's channel of trade from local markets to the global marketplace, all the while allowing artisans to work from the comfort of their own homes and communities. Secure in the knowledge that the fair payment they receive will not be reduced by traveling expenses, childcare costs and haggled prices, most artisans in the Swahili network promote their family's future by using earnings to put food on the table and pay educational expenses for their children. Swahili is a member of the Fair Trade Federation, a group of like-minded companies and organizations that adhere to:
  • providing fair payment to workers in developing nations
  • educating artisans and workers to increase their potential for advancement
  • developing products and processes that protect and conserve the natural environment
  • promoting fair trade as the standard in commercial exchanges
Swahili is also a Shared Interest fair trade loan facility holder. As the world’s only 100% fair trade lender, the Shared Interest cooperative currently lends over 33 million pounds yearly to both producers in developing nations and the buyers who distribute their goods worldwide. Shared Interest funds, invested completely by members with UK bank accounts, today facilitate fair trade transactions in 36 nations around the world. In 2004 the organization founded the Shared Interest Foundation to provide business training to marginalized producers, furthering the sustainability of cooperative investments. The Shared Interest Society received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2008.
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