A promising soap business

Sitrakiniaina Bertinah Fazila, known as Fazila, 22, lives with her parents in the small village of Amboanjo, about 30 km from the main District of Manakara, on the east coast of Madagascar. In this village, young people like Fazila live without prospects and with little hope for employment. Fazila makes a living by selling small snacks but earns meager profits.

When FIOVANA project arrived in Fazilla’s village, it was the start of a new life for her. Fazilla joined two associations created by the project: the Youth Platform, and the Saving and Loans Association (SLA). 

FIOVANA set up these associations to provide to the community members, including the young people, an opportunity to access to new sources of income and to promote economic empowerment.

In July 2022, FIOVANA organized trainings on different income generating activities for the young members of SLA groups, including soap manufacturing.

Fazilla was identified as one of the most active members of her group and was selected to attend the training. During five days, Fazilla learned about the different methods and tools for making a soap. To support Fazilla in her venture, the project also provided her with a scale and a hand mixer.

Back to her village, Fazilla could not wait to start her activity.

« I decided to save the food indemnity provided during the training to buy the raw materials. I started making soaps three days after the training. I was so excited, because the first time I tried, I was already successful. I gave to my neighbors the first soaps I managed to make », she said

“One day, I will have a big workshop that I will call Fazila Soapery. My products will have nice packaging, and I will use professional materials”, she said. 

Today, Fazilla already has three clients: her mother, and two grocers in the village market. Once a week, each grocer orders up to one carton – 36 soaps – which costs about $8. With such a success, Fazilla already sees far for her venture.

Fazilla’s soap is much appreciated by her clients. “This is of good quality. It foams well and it lasts. It can also be used to wash the face, and to bath. Only one is enough to wash one bucket of clothes. It is cheaper than the other types, yet these are of lower quality”, said one of them.

Thanks to the soap business, Fazilla starts to see the benefits in her life. “With the profit, I could buy a smartphone, and three chickens to start a second activity. Fiovana – meaning change in Malagasy – is not just a name. It is really bringing changes to my life.” she said.

For Fazilla, this activity not only represents an economic benefit, but also a self-fulfillment. “I am proud of my business because I know many young people like me dream of having such an opportunity”, she concluded.