‘Lucky Soap’ brings HOPE for AIDS sufferers



Andrea Richter (right) talking to the ladies

Naotcha is a township on the outskirts of Blantyre and has an area in which HOPE for AIDS has been working for some time, Indeed, HOPE for AIDS’ first Home-Based Care project in Malawi was established in the township.

Today it is the setting for an ‘Income Generating Scheme’ which is looking to help HIV/AIDS sufferers produce a marketable product which they can sell to generate income for their families and also ‘profit; to be ploughed back into the project.

The product in question is soap. From an unappetising start of around 7.5kgs of animal fat with cooking oil, caustic soda, water and Artemisia, the ladies involved with the project produce bars of good-quality soap which is then sold on the local area. Each batch of soap takes about four weeks from start of production to saleable product.

“The women carry the burden to care for themselves and their children entirely alone. They struggle on a daily basis to provide for their families and there is often no food in the home. In response to this great need the soap project was born and the four neediest women chosen.”

The scheme it is coming to the point where the ladies will be able to take it on themselves under the watchful eye of HOPE for AIDS Home-Based Care Co-ordinator Thomas Fungulani.

“We are pleased that the project will become self-sustaining and the ladies in Naotcha are interested to keep the project going even if Karen and I pull back a little,” said Karen Freeburn.

“It took a little longer than we thought to get to where we are today but there are signs that the ladies are getting used to the process and are starting to make a good-quality product on their own with minimal supervision from us.”

But how did the soap become known as ‘Lucky Soap’? The name came from the ladies themselves as they said that they felt ‘lucky’ to have been chosen to make the soap and so the name stuck! They sell a block for around Malawian Kwacha 120* each and this is enough to make it attractive to would-be purchasers yet still give them enough to make a profit and have money for themselves.

From this ... ... to this in two weeks!

Supported by project 96253 ‘HOPE for AIDS Malawi’


*At the time of writing MK120 was roughly worth USD 0.37 or £0,24