Angaza co-creators turn recycling into street fashion

Angaza is a fashion-eccentric Eco-brand that up-cycles
non-biodegradable material and blends it with African fabric to make
eye-catching accessories, among several products. By upgrading PVC
billboards, they re-purpose what would otherwise be trash and turn it
into valuable accessories. 

The Service Mag met up with Monica Umwari and Maria Mayanja, the two
youth who co-founded the Angaza Eco-brand. They have built its form to a
place that has gained them national and international recognition for
their efforts towards a green fashion-eccentric brand.
 Here are the Eco-brand Co-Creators of Angaza Ltd.


Monica Umwari is the Marketing Director, Angaza Ltd. She is
responsible for pitching Angaza to prospective customers, following up,
maintaining the current clients and developing marketing plans.

Monica Umwari is the Marketing Director, Angaza Ltd.

TSM: What is your biggest success story and how has it made you feel?

UMWARI: Being able to co-start the Rwandan eco-
brand from scratch with limited resources and business knowledge is a
great achievement. Today, the company is at an encouraging level. I feel
a sense of fulfillment.

TSM: How do you impact the community around you?

UMWARI: We are conserving the environment by taking
up PVC billboards that have been discarded. We clean them up and
up-cycle them. That canvas would have taken years to decompose. Through
upcycling the material, Angaza prevents soil pollution, we provide jobs
for the tailors we employ so they can take care of their families and in
so doing and we also teach them new design skills. When we have bulk
orders, we usually collaborate with women cooperatives especially those
who have members living positively with HIV/AIDS and the widows of the
Genocide against the Tutsi.

TSM: What motivates you to do what you do?

UMWARI: Accomplishment and a sense of contribution
to my community and the people close to me. In addition, as an
entrepreneur, when the sales and visibility of the company increase, I
am motivated to attain greater things.

TSM: What are your aspirations?

UMWARI: I want to be a successful entrepreneur known
for professionalism and integrity, having the ability to inspire the
youth and women of Rwanda.

TSM: What is your message for the Rwandan youth?

UMWARI: I encourage them to ‘Think Big’; you are
young once, so make the best of your youth. Keep away from time wasters
and don’t be afraid to look like a fool for what you believe in–
sometimes this happens in pursuit of your dream.


Monica Umwari’s partner Maria Mayanja is a 24-year-old graduate of Environmental Engineering. 

Maria Mayanja, Co-Founder of Angaza Ltd.

 TSM: How do you influence change within your community?

MARIA: Being part of Angaza enables me to show
people how they can come up with innovative solutions to the problems
they face. This is through recycling non-biodegradable material like PVC
billboard ads into stylish fashionable products such as handbags,
man-bags, sling bags, purses, wallets and other accessories.

TSM: Why is this important?

MARIA: I think it is important because it gets
people thinking differently. Most importantly, we are called upon to
develop tailor-made solutions for our own problems and not wait for
externally generated solutions.

TSM: What do you consider as the biggest challenge in your field?

MARIA: I would not call it a challenge, but rather
an opportunity, to step out of my comfort zone and learn something new
each day. It has been an interesting ride.

TSM: What is your take on service delivery in Rwanda especially in the environment sector?

MARIA: Rwanda is a country that is at the forefront
of environmental conservation and has put in place institutions to make
this a reality. Because of the urgency of the issue, I believe that
responsible institutions are quick to act where they need to.

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