Campaign Update

We Did It…We Made Bar Soap!

Aramide Oikelome
Posted August 7, 2017 from Nigeria
Adolescent mothers and facilitators displaying their packs of bar soap after the training.
At the one-on-one story telling session (1/13)

On July 10th I posted a need onour resource page, asking for financial support to enable us organise a skill acquisition program for our adolescent mothers at Ijegun,Ikotun, Lagos. The date scheduled for the training was July 27th. After our first summit on 11th June, it became obvious that these young moms needed serious financial boost to sustain their families. Basically, some of them have had to put up with runaway husbands while others are stuck with husbands that are equally jobless or earning very low income, hence they are unable to fend for their wives and children. In fact, one of them had even returned to her mother's house as the man could not feed her and her three children.

So, we thought it best to start with some training on basic skills to enable them engage in petty trade and earn little income to keep body and soul together. Somehow, we couldn’t get financial help anywhere. Our organisation’s account was in red because there was no money there.

I thought of postponing the program but our trainer – Jumoke Dalmeida (a widow who serves as volunteer with us) kept calling and asking for money to buy the materials needed for the practical training. She was very passionate about helping these teenage mothers and had offered to train them for free. Not wanting to discourage her, l decided to borrow some money and send to her on July 25th to at least buy few things. I concluded that even if we couldn’t get money to empower the young mothers with start-up kits, we could train them on the technical know-how and hope that they get the resources to start somehow.

Our dear Olamide Etti, now President of the Adolescent Mothers’ Club had gone out with fliers to invite pregnant teens in the community. Unfortunately many of them turned down her invitation. Their reason? They needed money and cannot come for any training if the organizers will not give them money for food and upkeep. Quite unfortunate I must say!

So, rather than the expected twenty participants, we had nine young mothers and four adults (resource persons) in attendance. It was indeed a very practical and exciting session for all. We started with getting the stories of these adolescent mothers through a questionnaire a dear sister Oluwatobiloba and I had drafted to collate stories since many of them would not write in English, having dropped out of school. Trust me, the stories we got were so touching and thought-provoking. There is no doubt that these women have been through great storms.

Thereafter, I spoke briefly and encouraged them to take the giant leap and dare to be economically empowered instead of begging for bread or being a liability. Then, my friend, Janet Ikeoluwa spoke on the need for personal hygiene as an enhancer and gateway to wellness.

Thereafter, Jumoke took us through the process on how to make bar soap for washing of clothes and doing regular house chores. She encouraged that with as little as $ 30 (Thirty Dollars), each person can get all the start-up kits and chemicals to produce and sell bar soap. She further encouraged that if one person cannot afford all, two people can team up and contribute $15 (Fifteen dollars) each to start the business.

After the first round of soap production, one of the young mothers was allowed to mix the ingredients for another round of production and to the amazement of all, she demonstrated how well she had learnt from our trainer.

Our products came out so lovely. The young moms left happy and resolved to go out and look for money to start the business. Each one had a piece of soap to take home.

I am hopeful that they will make true their promise. I am also praying that help will come for them to get the cash needed to start the business; that our efforts will not be in vain and that the knowledge garnered will not be wasted while these young women remain impoverished and powerless.

#SecondChanceForAdolescentMothers

Comments 17

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Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Aug 08, 2017
Aug 08, 2017

Dear Aramide

Thank you for your perseverance and your passion to reach out to these teenmothers despite your difficulties.  Am sure next time you will be able to get the financial support that you need. Don't despair. Keep us posted on the progress of the teen mothers. 

Stay blessed

Aramide Oikelome
Sep 17, 2017
Sep 17, 2017

Dear Anita,

Thanks for your soothing and encouraging words. The task ahead is huge if we must get these young mothers emancipated and empowered .

I am hopeful that things will get better and better.

Keep up the good work at your end too.

Sending Blessings!

Aramide

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Aug 08, 2017
Aug 08, 2017

Wow Ara!!!!! Great job. I am confident you will have start kits for this girls. Can you try lobbying with microfinance establishments around you whether they can give these girls loans at a very minimal interest rate? Keep trying you will get there. I am proud of you my sister

Aramide Oikelome
Sep 17, 2017
Sep 17, 2017

Maselien Darl,

I appreciate your encouragement always. Microfinance loans is not a good idea here because the terms and conditions of payment put most women under very harrowing experiences. We have seen cases of women being arrested by the police because they couldn't pay the local microfinance group where they got loan to do business. 

lnfact a woman was about jumping into the river in a suicide attempt and when she was rescued she confessed that she wanted to take her life because she couldn't pay the loan she collected.

So l won't want to put these already vulnerable teenmums through the pressure. Rather l could like to empower them.with start up kits after training and also enlighten them on entrepreneurial skills.

Thanks for your thoughts and care.

Keep Soaring Sis,

Aramide

mae me
Aug 08, 2017
Aug 08, 2017

Dear Aramide.  This is an amazing way to build up women's skills.  I hope they will continue doing it so it will be a source of income.

Aramide Oikelome
Sep 17, 2017
Sep 17, 2017

Dear Maeann,

Yes, the girls are determined to keep.doing the soap for sale. The last time we met some of them.have even bought some of the ingredients needed but none of them.had been able to buy all.due to.cash constraints. 

We are hopeful!

Thanks,

Aramide

Sabdio Roba
Aug 11, 2017
Aug 11, 2017

great work...and those soaps look so nice.  I would love to get some knowledge from you on how to make some. 

Aramide Oikelome
Sep 17, 2017
Sep 17, 2017

Yes. The soaps turned out great. Our trainer can.send you the training manual.

Thank you,

Aramide

Sophie Ngassa
Aug 11, 2017
Aug 11, 2017

Dear Aramide, Your progress and efforts is so encouraging. Lack of financial support did not limit your project.Keep on pushing dear sis, God will surely answer your prayer.

Aramide Oikelome
Sep 17, 2017
Sep 17, 2017

A big Amen Sophie dear. Thanks for your encouragement. 

You are doing an amazing work at your end. Thumbs up to your Sis!

Keep Soaring,

Aramide

Vivian Emesowum
Aug 28, 2017
Aug 28, 2017

Well done Aramide, we can also work together cos am also located in Igando and our office is at LASU expressway

Aramide Oikelome
Sep 17, 2017
Sep 17, 2017

Dear Vivian,

We sure have a lot to do.together. It's been tough lately hence my.inability to reach out to you as promised. 

Can.we chat tomorrow Monday 18th September in the evening, say 8pm Nigerian time? 

Pls.just click on.whatsapp once you are ready

In Sisterhood,

Aramide

Kadidia Doumbia
Sep 02, 2017
Sep 02, 2017

Dear Aramide,

I love reading about stories like yours.

The number is not important it is how the participants embrace the idea/project and give their full.

It is so exciting to see how with so little money some people's lives may be transformed.

Thank you for your commitment.

Kadidia

Aramide Oikelome
Sep 17, 2017
Sep 17, 2017

Hi Kadidiah,

I totally agree with you.that it's not about the number but about the impact. 

It's absolutely fulfilling you that through our little effort there csn.be sunshine.and transformation in the lives of our girls and teenage mothers.

We are encouraged to do more.

In Partnership,

Aramide

REGINA POTO
Sep 15, 2017
Sep 15, 2017

Hi Aramide,

Congratulations for the success of the 'Soap Making'. The number should not be a source of discouragement. Make sure you follow up on the participants to ensure they are putting to use what they have learnt and you will see that they will be your advertisement. Also, don't be discouraged on the issue of Finance, as God who sees your impact on these Teen-mums will raise help somehow. Well done Sis!

Regina Poto

(Founder PST.GINA & HER PINK LADIES, WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE)

Aramide Oikelome
Sep 17, 2017
Sep 17, 2017

So many thanks Elgenry. I say a big Amen to your warm prayers. We are following up.with them. In fact some have started buying the ingredients needed little by little .

The pace is slow l must say but l understand it's due to cash constraints. So lm.encouraging them to keep at it until they can get all that is needed to start in full.

Keep praying for us.

Sending blessings,

Aramide

Amani K
Mar 16, 2018
Mar 16, 2018

Great initiative!! The mindset that one has to be paid to get a skill that will help them is beyond me! I pray that with trainings such as this, this mindset will eventually change! Keep on keeping on!!