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From 300 Frw to a thriving soap business: Sylvine’s journey with her team

Mukagatari Sylvine is a 34-year-old mother working on her project in the Eastern Province, Rwamagana District, Munyaga Sector, Zinga Cell.

When she was in her fourth year of secondary school, she became pregnant and dropped out, but later found people who helped her retrain. That’s where she gained basic knowledge in making liquid soap.

In our conversation, she told us, “I was selling at a place dealing with soap occasionally. I had put up a small sign saying we sell soap here. Then I heard there was going to be a training (Love and Hands); I went there and found a mix of people gathered, young people, young women, and both boys and girls.”

“After the training, some lost hope because they thought maybe they were going to be given a stipend, they told us they were going to train us but there were no stipends involved so some lost hope and even left as if they were protesting.”

She said that she never lost hope and continued with the training.

“We continued with the training for four days, they taught us how to advance ourselves starting from the little we had. After being trained, we organized ourselves. We were trained as people close together in two villages.”

She mentioned that after the training, 23 of them grouped together, but only 18 continued the journey together.

“They came, we gathered and started; we learned how to save, starting with 300 Frw and then we set up a safety net, those who didn’t have the 300 Frw would bring 50 Frw for the safety net.”

She told us that their savings reached 20,000 Frw, sparking the idea to buy some materials because the group was composed of knowledgeable people.

“Some said we have no skills, so I told them let me teach you how to make liquid soap. We bought materials worth 9,600 Frw, I had some tools that I used to use for making soap and brought them, we came together in one week I taught them how to make it and they learned it well.”

She said they found it to be a very profitable project because they made a good profit from making the soap and saved the profits, sharing them after three months.

When they make 40 liters of soap, they invest 4,600 Frw and make 20,000 Frw.

She told us that in the year they have been doing this job, they have reached a good level and all love it, even attracting four new members.

“For me, I feel like we could move from liquid soap to harder soap, to body lotions, to head washing soap, we are at a delightful place but it would be better if we could reach further because we don’t wish to stay here.”

Straight out of Twitter