Being socially responsible means a lot of things (from recycling, to being water wise and purchasing local), including donating time and money. To that end, since our beginning in 1998, we've donated to community organizations and nonprofits.
One of our favorite places to give, is through Kiva. All Things Herbal donates a portion of our soapmaking profits to entrepreneurs in the developing world. So far we've made fourteen micro-loans. I can't explain how great it feels to have a tiny part of helping others expand their businesses.
Running a small soap business, it's not a surprise that our favorite loans involve soap! It's through the encouragement of others that our family business has become what it is and that is what we want to offer others. Our loans are funded by our business sales. When customers buy our products, they are helping another small business. Here are a snapshot of a few loans we've made through Kiva.org so far:
Asi Badu lives and works in Ghana and sells locally produced salt and soap at Jukwa, a local market. Asi's husband is a blacksmith and they have four children. She'll use her loan to buy more salt and soap to sell. She hopes to save the new income from her business to reinvest back into her business.
George Kaungu Kilaa lives and works in Nairobi East, Kenya and manufactures and sells soaps and detergents to earn a living. He has been in the business for three years and has one employee. He's 27 years old and describes himself as hard-working and loyal. What he appreciates most about his training is learning to keep business records. George hopes to grow his business and offer products wholesale. He'll use his loan to purchase raw materials for soapmaking.
Ikogba is married with 4 children and has been in business for over 13 years. She lives in Lagos State, Nigeria and will use her loan to grow her business of selling garri. Garri is something most of us are not familiar with. It's a popular West African food made from cassava tubers.
To make garri, cassava tubers are peeled, washed and grated or crushed to produce a mash. The mash is placed in a non-water proof bag and allowed to ferment for one or two days, while weights are placed on the bag to press the water out. It is then sifted and roasted by heating in a bowl. The resulting dry garri can be stored for long periods. It may be pounded or ground to make a fine flour.
Phally Moeung (pictured with her loom) is a widow with two sons and two daughters. She lives with her sister, brother and parents on an island in the Mekong River about 15 kilometers from Phnom Penh City. Phally is a weaver and sells her finished products to a middleman in the village.
Monica Munyoki lives in Kenya. She is married with four children and hopes to be able to provide a university-level education for them. She owns a business making jewelry at Dandora in Nairobi. She's been in business for nine years and is using her loan to buy beads for making bracelets and necklaces and grow her business.
Anara has a small business selling milk and milk products. The earnings from the business allow Anara to pay for her son's university education. Anara is using her loan to buy another dairy cow and calves and expand her business.
Hagar Mependo sells a type of locally-made soap in Korfofordo, Ghana. Demand for the soap is increasing, and that is why she is applied for a loan to buy more of the ingredients she needs to make soap. She would also like to begin selling other types of soap to her customers.