Story of Akuna Soap Industry

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.

~ Joshua Draget, student volunteer at Riverside

Mission

The mission of Akuna Soap Industry is: empowering youth and women in Zambia to make a difference in their communities by selling affordable, high quality, healthy soap. This will allow them to support themselves in school, life, or whatever objective they are trying to reach.

Vision

The vision of Akuna Soap Industry is to become a leading supplier of healthy, affordable, good quality soap in Zambia, utilizing a force of young men and women to support themselves by making or selling soap.

Values

At Akuna Soap Industry, we value Excellence, Integrity, and Loyalty.

Excellence

We highly value excellence at Akuna Soap Industry, because everything we do, from production and sales to empowering youth, we do unto the Lord. Our primary mission in this area is to make products that are of the highest quality and are produced with the utmost care.

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” Ecclesiastes 9:10. 

Integrity

Integrity is a very integral part of Akuna Soap Industry, and it is our aim to instill these values in our workers and in every aspect of the industry, all the way from production to sales. We strive to choose prices that are affordable and reasonable in an age where many seek to profit from the ignorance of others.

“A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight” Proverbs 11:1. 

Loyalty

We strongly value loyalty at Akuna Soap Industry. First and foremost, loyalty to God. He is our Creator, and how we treat our bodies is a testament of our love for Him. We are the temple of God, so as we live a healthy lifestyle we are bringing glory to Him. We also highly value loyalty to our employees. From those who are making the soap to the ones who are selling it, we entrust them with this mission in hopes that they will grow in skill and character. Finally, we strive to be loyal to our customers. We welcome any feedback that they have, including suggestions for improvement. We try to be as efficient as possible as to deliver our products as soon as possible.

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.