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Have you ever wondered what is raffia and where it comes from? Raffia is a plant fiber that comes from the leaves of a tropical palm tree shown in the photo above. This palm is scientifically called the Raphia Farinifera. This palm tree grows in tropical parts of the world including in countries of Africa, South East Asia, Central and South America, and Hawaii. One of the world's best quality raffia, however, grows on the island of Madagascar. In Madagascar, extracting the usable part of the raffia leaves follows a slow and mechanical non polluting multi-step process. It can take several days to obtain usable fibers. The raffia fibers are obtained by stripping the long leaves of the palm tree. Only the long leaves, however, are stripped...
The Sheroes of Madagascar's Flora Conservation: Ms. Jeannie Raharimampionona, Winner of a National Geographic Award
On this day of March 8, 2021, International Women's Day, Soava is delighted to celebrate and direct a spotlight on the "she"-roes of flora conservation in Madagascar and in particular on our compatriot Ms. Jeannie Raharimampionona. Ms. Raharimampionona is a Malagasy woman winner of the National Geographic/Buffet Award for Leadership in Conservation in November 2020. Read this Soava blog post to learn more.
Madagascar is a unique place in the world when it comes to biodiversity of both plants and animals. Many species of fauna and flora only exist on the island. Unfortunately, because of population growth pressure, demand for charcoal, illegal logging, and other human activities, the precious Madagascar tropical forest is slowly disappearing and Lemurs are on the verge of extinction because of the destruction of their natural habitats. Read more about this Soava blog post here.
It is so interesting to recall how Women’s International Day is celebrated in the countries I lived in. As a teenager in Italy, I remember women handing each other yellow and sweet smelling freshly picked mimosa branches and twigs on women’s day. March eight is the Festa delle Donne! You would see women proudly holding, waving and sharing their branches in the subways, at the market, on the buses, or in the streets. Read this Soava blog post to learn more.
We recently had a photo shoot of our raffia bags in the beautifully shaded streets of New Orleans Garden District. This area of town is located very close to Zèle and fitted perfectly, both for its convenient vicinity but also for its lush gardens, tall trees, and quietness. After a bit of anxiety for the weather, we ended up having just enough sunlight to make the shoot. Eduardo Benitez of Eduardo Benitez Photography was our photographer and beautiful and talented Veronica Lawler was our model. New Orlean's philodendrons made a perfect backdrop for Veronica carrying our Myriam raffia clutch. The hand-crochet texture of our Mombasa raffia bag is revealed further against the trunk of this New Orleans uptown century old...
Are you in New Orleans and are you looking for a store where you could find that one-of-kind, unique handicraft or gift made by a New Orleans artisan? Look no further. Direct your paths to Zèle! Zèle features some of the best that New Orleans has to offer in arts and handmade products. Owner Stacy Martinez’s vision was to offer a venue where New Orleans artists and makers could continuously offer their pieces for sale in between the monthly or weekly arts and crafts open air events that take place throughout the city. Read more about his Soava blog here.
Our Retail Space
2841 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70115, USA
Days: Monday to Saturday:
Hours: 11AM - 5PM
Sunday: Noon until 5PM
Phone: (985) 326-9103
Woman-Owned Small Business
Soava makes it easier for you to find carefully curated handmade, socially conscious, and environmentally-friendly lifestyle goods that support conservation and economic empowerment in Madagascar and other African countries. US based. Global shipping. Since 2015.