CNN’s African Voices: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu

Above: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, co-founder of SoleRebels, eco-friendly footwear company from Ethiopia, is highlighted in this week's CNN's African Voices. (Photo. Screen shot)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New York (Tadias) – This week CNN’s African Voices features Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Co-Founder and Managing Director of SoleRebels, Ethiopia’s first fair trade footwear company.

Introducing her eco-fashion products, Tilahun described her work to Tadias Magazine last year as “a story of fair trade, eco-sensibility, and great innovative footwear products.”

“One of the truly unique and exciting things about soleRebels is that we are green by heritage, and not because some marketing folks told us to be,” she said. “We maximize both recycled inputs and craft our materials in the traditional manner — the way they have always been made in Ethiopia – by hand.”

She summarizes SoleRebels’ ethos in three words: “Roots, Culture, Tires.” The shoes are created using indigenous practices such as hand-spun organic cotton and artisan hand-loomed fabric. Tires are also recycled and used for soles. The end result is environmental friendly, vegan footwear. “Historically that is the way things have been done,” Tilahun says, and it not only makes great sense to continue the tradition, it also has generated income for local artisans.

African Voices, which explores the lives and passions of Africa’s most engaging personalities, airs weekly on CNN International: Saturdays at 11.30 & 18.30 GMT and on Sundays at 17.00 GMT.

Video: Turning old tires into shoes (7:10)

Video: Young SoleRebel (8:07)

Video: Creating window to world market (7:24)

12 Responses to “CNN’s African Voices: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu”

  1. 1 Daniel Tesfaye May 30th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Betlehem Alemu … wow ! what an extraordinary human being. I watched the program this morning on CNN International. What a different world this would be if we have more of this woman? I am proud of her. and she is a pride of Ethiopia. I recommened everyone to look for this video and witness it forthemselves what she is doing and what she have acomplished so far. May God Bless her!

  2. 2 Dagmawi May 31st, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Cool. Congrats!!

  3. 3 Assy Melaku Jun 1st, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Big example to all of us and creative. Keep up!

  4. 4 Stacy Jun 2nd, 2010 at 9:07 am

    My daughter (adopted from Ethiopia years ago, now a teen-ager) and I have Solerebels shoes. I first learned about you right here on TADIAS magazine about a year ago and purchased it on I thought at the time that it was a great idea. I am glad to see you doing so well. Looking forward to buying another one for the summer!!

  5. 5 Meseret Jul 13th, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Beti, am really impressed by your work. you can be an example for all us/young women/ in ethiopia. Keep it up!!!

  6. 6 Wasi What's up? Oct 10th, 2011 at 3:06 am

    Betyyyyy I,m Really Happy to See You We Love you Also We Proud of you keep it Up Bravo.

  7. 7 Lily Nov 7th, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Bety, i am proud of your work. keep it up.

  1. 1 Made in Ethiopia: Sole Rebels Wins Eco-Bold Green Award at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Aug 15th, 2010 at 3:33 am
  2. 2 SoleRebels Founder Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu to speak at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative meeting at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Sep 9th, 2010 at 7:44 am
  3. 3 Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu Named Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 12th, 2011 at 1:24 am
  4. 4 SoleRebels: Ethiopia’s Global Shoe Brand Goes Online at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Aug 6th, 2011 at 5:03 pm
  5. 5 SoleRebels: Ethiopia’s Global Shoe Brand Goes Online Pingback on Aug 6th, 2011 at 7:53 pm
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