Back in June last year we visited a soap making factory in Bukavu and wrote about the working conditions here
Two basic types are made in Bukavu and sold in stalls and shops and at the market in Kadatu. One is a blue all-purpose soap and the second is pasty white and tends to be used just for washing clothes. Both are made in the factories such as the one we visited and to meet demand, much more is imported from Kenya and Tanzania.
At the time it seemed crazy to be importing basic necessities and since then we’ve been looking out for someone with experience in soap-making who is able to ensure better conditions for the workers and also develop new ideas for soap to supplement the two basic types.
Patient Kalembe is the man who stepped forward and put together a plan and who is now in business with support and advice from Luminosity. The equipment is set up in a building a little way outside the city and already he has a list of clients who buy the soap and sell it locally and in Bukavu.
This provides him with a base level income on the back of which he is experimenting with ways to integrate oils that will prevent or assist with medical ailments. Of course there is a balance between better soap and higher costs. There is no point in producing medicated soap that no one can afford to buy. So it will take a while to find the right mix and at the same time he needs to keep his eye on producing the two basic types. But Patient is a careful man and we’re sure that better soap better made will work for him in the long run.