OF THE INDUSTRY
Zambia is ranked among the top countries in the world with the highest levels of poverty and wealth inequality. Youth and Women unemployment rates in Zambia are skyrocketing, leaving many without a job to provide them with a bright future.
CREATING EMPOWERMENT, NOT DEPENDENCY
Akuna is creating jobs in impoverished communities so people are able to provide for themselves.
By creating jobs instead of giving handouts, Akuna Industry is creating empowerment, not dependency. We pay all of our workers livable wages which allow them to provide for themselves and their families. As of now, we currently have 50 employees and have sold 70,000 bars of soap, but our numbers are growing everyday. Akuna is able to provide a safe and stable environment for workers to excel and grow their skills, making it possible for promotion. Without Akuna Industry, most of our workers would be struggling to find sustainable employment, making it challenging to provide for themselves or their families.
HOW WE CAME TO BE
“I decided to call the project “Akuna Industry” as a reminder that with God, nothing is impossible.”
It was a warm evening in November. We had just arrived at a small village in Western Province, Zambia, known as “Sandland”, where the mango trees grow and deep sand greets you everywhere you go. We had been driving for a few hours, and were eager to unload the one-day church and start building it. As usual, we were greeted by the local church elders and villagers. But this time, something was different. We were in Lozi land, one of the oldest tribes in Zambia, a people with a history of hardship, suffering, and blessings alike. As we started unloading the building materials, roofing sheets, and scaffolds, the women of the village started singing. We could see the joy on their faces that they were finally getting a church building – a shelter from the hot sun and rain. A place where they could worship God without being affected by the weather. As the local church members helped us build, the women continued to sing.
I had helped build several one-day churches before this, but this one stood out to me. I enjoyed singing, so I started listening to the words of their song. One in particular, they repeated over and over: “Akuna Sesipala”. I asked Elder Waluka, the Bible worker who travelled with us, what it meant. He also is of the Lozi tribe, and explained that the words meant, “Nothing is impossible. With God, all things are possible”. I started to sing along with the women, as the song was repetitious and easy to learn. Their smiles showed that they greatly enjoyed seeing a me singing along with them. That song remained in my head for the rest of the trip. In many other villages, the locals sang the same song. Some of the men and children joined in as well. Waluka even gave me a Lozi name, and introduced me to villagers as “Akuna Sesipala”.
It was not long after this that I started researching the soap making industry. After reading several articles, watching videos, and doing surveys, I set about experimenting and making soap. In a few weeks time, I had come up with four recipes for healthy, affordable, good-quality soap. I now had the task of sourcing the bulk ingredients, including from Ghana, China, and South Africa, setting up the production and curing rooms, and establishing a marketing and sales plan. Other things I needed to accomplish were training people in production and sales, establishing partnerships, and familiarizing myself with government regulations. What started as a small project for me quickly turned into something I was passionate about.
So, along with the advice of a friend, I came up with an idea. There are many young men and women in Zambia who are struggling to support both themselves to afford an education or provide for their families and other immediate needs. I decided to call the project “Akuna Soap Industry”, as a reminder that with God, nothing is impossible. It is a name loved by the locals, and some said that this was the only soap they would buy from now on. So far, they have been very excited at the prospect of empowering Zambia’s youth, women, and others by giving them a stable income source.
-Josh Draget, Student Volunteer at Riverside
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Browse through our natural products and create your ideal bath experience. Select our handcrafted products that speak to you and embark on your bathtime adventure.
02. CREATE A JOB
Create A Job When you purchase our product, you help generate a job in an impoverished community where stable and sustainable jobs are hard to find.
03. CHANGE A LIFE
Your purchase changes lives! Having a stable and sustainable job that pays livable wages enables our employees to provide for themselves and their families. Giving them hope and empowerment.