Benjamin and I are back from Uganda where we taught soapmaking to 7 brilliant women who are now part of Project Lydia.
The women are (from left to right) Deize, Edith, (Amanda), Florence, Sarah, (Benjamin), Sauda and Tabisa.
During the workshops we took the time to interview each women. I asked, “ When you are making money by participating in the soap business, what will you spend it on?”
Every single one of them stated that they would use the money for school fees for their children. Every single one. Some went on to state that they wanted a better home, they wanted to quit their current farming or digging work and Tabisa even stated that she wanted a solar panel to sell cold items at the market. But the number one need was money to pay for school.
How many of us simply want a better life for our children?
Where they live, the number one path to a better life is through education. Here we take it for granted. School is guaranteed. There, school is an often-unattainable privilege, which costs money to attend.
I then asked if they had any questions to ask us. Florence asked, “Will you stand hand in hand to continue to help us?”
Our answer… “Yes!” And then we told her about our community back home that was standing with her as well. A huge smile spread across her face as she uttered a simple “Thank you” that ended in a hopeful almost relieved sigh.
So to our community of supporters… I just don’t know how to make sure you know the impact you are having on these women around the world. What we are doing with Lovin’ Soap Project by teaching soapmaking and business workshops is working. It is making a difference. It is providing hope, encouragement and empowerment by providing these women with an opportunity to earn money. It gives them some control over their situation.
When asked the same question, “Do you have any questions for us?”, Sauda simply asked, “Will you pay for my children’s school fees?”
Her eyes were pleading, desperate and sad. My heart sunk and I wanted to scream, YES! But you can’t.
My answer is always the same as we get asked for money or things often. ”No. We are here to teach you soapmaking. We are here to help with the business and to help sell the soap so that YOU earn money to send your children to school. YOU will pay your children’s school fees.”
I don’t know if she believed me at that moment, as she has been a farmer her entire life and this is all such a new experience for her. Benjamin happened to catch her face at this moment during the interview.
I will see her pay the school fees for her children. I silently promised her that I was going to do whatever it took to make the soap business successful. This was a promise that I had already made though, before even landing in Uganda. And I know we can, with the support of our amazing community of individuals, businesses, family and friends.
If you would like to help support this project, we are in need of funds to continue the work that we’re doing in Haiti and Uganda.
On the day we left for Uganda, 317 days after our application was put in, we were granted our official status as a 501(c)3 charity which makes us exempt from taxes and makes your donations tax deductible.
What we need more than anything are recurrent monthly donations, which provide us a way to plan, budget and sustain our work.
Please consider signing up for a recurrent monthly donation today to help support Tabisa, Florence, Sauda and all of the other women that we hope to impact through soapmaking. Whether its $5, $10 or $100 a month, this is the best way to help. Toss one Starbucks a month to the side to help empower women through soapmaking! We are grateful for your support!