of Soaps and Scents
Empowering parents to entrepreneurial opportunities
Improving the home economics of the families from which the children of Empowerment International come, is a complementary aspect of our primary education work. These communities where we work had few opportunities for employment, and the situation worsened during the political crisis, with gained knowledge and desire, an entrepreneurial spirit can turn an idea to opportunity, and introduce a product or service to the community.
Auxiliadora Robleto, who is responsible for EIs home visits and health watch program, saw such an opportunity with Lorna Torrez, offering a course in the making of perfumes, and household cleaning products through EI, to several mothers of children enrolled in our program. With visiting technician, Lorna Torrez of Managua, each Thursday for five weeks, in 3 hour sessions, Lorna instructed the mothers in the basics of making several commercial products.
During each session, the mothers were instructed in the theory of the manufacture, followed by a hands-on session in the correct and safe production of the products. They studied together, and prepared liquid soaps for the body, detergents for laundry, household disinfectant cleansers, as well as skin care creams, perfume fragrances, deodorant, and hair shampoos.
Beyond the fundamentals of product manufacture they also learned entrepreneurial business concepts such as production costs, sales and markup, profitability, and marketing.
More than 20 mothers initially enrolled in this program, with 14 mothers able to commit in full to the course. Participants in the program like Martha Tellez had previous independent business experience selling food basics from her home to supplement their family income.
Scarleth Alvarado, another participant, regularly made buñuelos and rice milk, (popular local desserts) weekly to sell.
Jessenia Alvarado retails plantains, and also prepares enchiladas in her kitchen, to sell door-to-door, supplementing her income earned cleaning homes, and offering laundry service. Nora Calderon’s family business experience also centered on retailing cold drinks, fresh made tortillas, elotes (roasted cobcorn), and yoltamals (a popular corn-based streetfood) which her children sold in the street.
Together, the mothers have shared an experience, acquired knowledge, and gained confidence, the essence of empowerment. Next comes the difficult work of entering the marketplace with their products. These are the challenges the mothers welcome. Empowerment International is there for them, to support, encourage and guide them towards a measure of self-sufficiency during an uncertain and challenging time.