Building skills for jobs:The soap that is changing women’s lives

Ela showing us the soap

“I found myself among 20 other women and girls coming from surrounding villages. At the beginning, the process seemed so complicated. I though I would never learn how to do this. First came theory and then practice. Two specialists provided the theoretical part. Two chemists led the process guiding us on the production. The soap would contain olive oil, water and sodium in addition to optional natural aromas and essential oils. We learned of the importance of the right amount of ingredients so as not to make the soap too acidic. I attended the training for 6 months. Finally I learned how to do it. Now I think it is quite easy. The training center soon became like a new home I had never known before. I could not wait to go there every single day. There I had a chance to speak to other women who shared similar concerns about life, survival and non-existing economic opportunities for women like us. This opportunity seemed like a light at the end of the tunnel”.

Women during the working process
Rroskovec has around 500,000 olive trees
Giving different shapes to the soap

Elie Mazloum, the Executive Director says: ”Getting inspired by successful stories and experiences from projects in the Middle East that produce soaps from olive oil, and considering that the soap is a basic consumption product needed by people on a daily basis, we applied to ReLOaD program with the idea to create a small value chain from the olive farmers, olive oil processors, and to train a group of unemployed women and girls to produce soap from olive oil waste, and create a marketing and sales group to sell the soap”.

Elie during the work process
Women are so proud of the soap they produced themselves
SDI training women on marketing techniques

“We have some good news”- says Elie. The product is already in some shops and the first contract will be signed in May with a company that produces and sells cosmetic natural products in Fier”.

Zenepe a 73 old woman : Initially I wanted my daughter in law to participate in the training and learn a skill, but she never made it. I am hoping to transfer that skill to her. I never imagined I would “get a “profession” at my age”.
The soap producers of Rroskovec

“After the birth of my children says Ela, I feel this has been the most beautiful happening in my life. I do not feel as hopeless as before. Now my dream is taking shape”.

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