More Than Sparrows
Sugira - More than Sparrows is a cooperative in Kigali, Rwanda composed of 23 women. As the first group of artisans that the Sparrow Studio has worked with, they are near and dear to our hearts. Over the past five years, we've seen tremendous strides in their skills, attention to detail, quality of work, and rise out of poverty. Post-genocide Rwanda is challenging in regards to job opportunities but is also an incredibly hopeful environment for these hard working women. We are delighted to collaborate with them to create modern, relevant product and a marketplace here in the United States.
In their own words, “Sugira - More Than Sparrows is an expression of our growth and belief in ourselves. Sugira, meaning to prosper, is something we can now see in our future. We have prospered in strength of spirit as well as new found respect and dignity because we have worked together to leave our old life behind. Discovering we can learn new skills like stitching, sewing and paper bead making which is valued by others, has offered us hope and the possibility to prosper even if in a very small way. We are no longer ashamed and afraid that we are worth nothing! We have embraced our name with joy.”
“Back in 2013 a benefactor came to share a reading from Matthew 10:31, “Fear not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.” That reminded us that even we; sex workers, street vendors, isolated, lonely women, considered the lowest of the low, were valuable. This brought some comfort in the midst of life’s challenges and gave us hope so we accepted the title, along with our original Kinyarwanda name Abihanganye, those who endure.”
”Through our struggles we have discovered a sense of identity in our Cooperative. We support each other, we look after each other, we listen to each other and we can take pride in what we do. We are resilient and because of that we are now ready to stand up and say, we are Sugira – More Than Sparrows. “
Annie first met Abraham the Summer of 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. Abraham works with brass, horn, and bone. He is also a husband, father, and shop owner. Recycled brass comes from old pad locks and other discarded brass hardware he finds. They are melted down and poured into the custom molds he creates for us. Each piece of jewelry is carefully crafted by hand. Our items that have the larger brass chain, such as the Take Heart bracelet (link) or Scallop necklace (link) display Abraham's patience and ability to make each and every link. Abraham's sparkling personality and willingness to try new designs make him a pleasure to work with!
We met Germania through Annie's next door neighbor who got to know Germania while living in Ecuador for 3 years. Germania is a single mom in a rural area of Ecuador, descended from the Shuar people group. She grows her own seeds to make into beads on a small finca (farm).
Germania receives a fair wage for her work and tells us she has cried tears of gratitude thinking about your support of her craft.
We enjoy Germania's creativity, generosity, and enthusiasm for working with new materials and colors. She often gifts us new designs and has introduced us to new techniques and and natural materials.
Manos Emprendedoras (ME), in English translates to “entrepreneurial hands" and provides work opportunities to immigrant women from around the world living in Colorado. With their help, they are able to better provide for their families and adapt to the culture in a peaceful and beautiful way.
ME offers immigrant women an opportunity to transcend language barriers and use their hands to transmit their inner beauty. By creating beautiful pieces of jewelry with extreme care, they express gratitude for their new home and hope for a better life. We want to thank you very much for supporting these women as they use their creativity to live without fear and with much love.