February 2022 marked the start of the Mwai Soap Making project at Ahava. “Mwai” means possibilities in the Chichewa language. The aim is for Ahava to provide local and vulnerable women with an opportunity for a better future. A project was initiated with these women to create soap. The sale of this handmade soap enables them to create a mini-enterprise.
How it all began…
We connected with a volunteer who had trained disadvantaged women in soap making for several years. She was looking for a new project, and after a few meetings, we became enthusiastic, especially about the idea of helping local vulnerable women to empower themselves.
Between two buildings, there was just enough space to build the soap-making facility, and the entire construction was carried out by Ahava employees.
Then it was time to select the women. We chose two young girls, both with children and abandoned by their husbands, and a woman whose eldest daughter is nearly blind, with a husband without work. Next, the volunteer began the training. Step by step, the women learned how to make soap and quickly mastered these skills.
The mini-enterprise involves the three women selling soap in their villages. They produce local soap with fewer expensive essential oils and also an “expat” soap with more essential oils, making it pricier.
You can also find Mwai soap in the clinic, as each bar contains Neem and Artemisia or Moringa, which have skin-protective properties. This soap is particularly beneficial for children with skin issues.
We are grateful that these three vulnerable women were given a chance for a better future, enabling them to make different choices and take pride in what they have learned!