The conflict in northern Mali has been devastating for women. In 2012, thousands of women, like the one pictured in this photo, were raped, flogged, forced into marriage and expelled from their homes when Tuareg rebels and jihadists took control of the north. Shocked and traumatized, many fled south to Bamako, where they have lived in isolation, poverty and fear. These brave survivors need to earn a living and regain their confidence if they are to fully recover. Soap may be one way to help.
Sini Sanuman outreach workers in Bamako will meet with thousands of women in 2016 at community meetings and identify 60 that are especially vulnerable. These women will be enrolled in Sini Sanuman's center, where they will learn to make soap. Using money from this appeal, they will purchase shea oil from village women and use the oil to produce 5,000 bars of shea butter soap (as seen in our video) for sale at hotels and in markets. This will earn them some money and speed their recovery.
We foresee two main impacts. First, 60 survivors of abuse and violence will acquire a skill, regain their confidence and earn an income - thus allowing them to re-enter society and care for their families. Second, they will use part of their profits to buy ingredients, which will be reinvested in the Bamako center. This way the soap enterprise will become self-sufficient, helping future survivors and enabling Sini Sanuman to promote a vision of peace in Mali that empowers women.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).
Sini Sanuman - Our partner in Mali
Shea soap being produced by survivors in Bamako
The blogs of Refilwe, our wonderful Peace Fellow
Our news bulletin describing the soap project