AT least 100 residents from Glenview 3 suburb in Harare, most of them living positively with HIV and Aids, are benefiting from a soap-making project being spearheaded by the owner of a private school in the community.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
The residents have also formed a community club being spearheaded by Martha Mhonderwa, who is director of Simudzirai Private Primary School.
She initiated the soap-making project in January with the aim of assisting children, whose parents were attending her school but struggling to raise fees.
“The club consists of both men and women from the community, most of them infected and affected by HIV,” Mhonderwa said. “They make liquid soap used in washing dishes and cleaning toilets. We also have poultry and grocery projects.”
Every evening the residents gather at Simudzirai School premises to make the soap paste which they leave in a drum overnight to settle.
The following morning, each of them orders the soap at R5 per litre, which they resale for US$1 in the community.
After sales, they deposit some of the money into the club’s account while remaining with some cash, which they use for buying food for their families.
Some of the money they bank is used to cover fees for the children of those who are struggling to pay the US$40 per term charged at Simudzirai.
One of the beneficiaries, Patience Gwavava (37), said the project had brought relief to her since the death of her husband in 2000.
“I sell between five to 10 litres of the soap per day and this has improved my life a lot,” she said. “I used to sell vegetables here in Harare and also in Beitbridge but what I raised was hardly enough for me to feed my four children and also pay their fees.”
She said since the project started in January, she has had a constant supply of food.
Gwavava said her two children who learn at Simudzirai School have had their fees paid for through the project for two terms.
Simudzirai, which has classes from Early Child Development to Grade Three, has been operating from makeshift structures since it was started in 2010.