It’s back-to-school time! We wanted to share some numbers from Alaffia, maker of fair-trade soaps and other shea butter products. They source ingredients from Togo in West Africa, paying both a premium price for the oil and a fair wage to the women who gather the shea nuts and grind them. They also give back ten percent of sales to community empowerment projects: they have purchased school supplies for 11,700 students and built five schools and 1250 school benches in Togo. Other results are 3,237 births funded, 42,625 trees planted, and 5,700 eyeglasses donated.
Two years ago, I was inspired by a visit from Olowo-n’djo Tchala, the founder and managing director of Alaffia, who was on a tour of the United States to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Alaffia Shea Butter Cooperative. His mother, a member of the co-op who still lives in Togo, was denied education when she was a child. Olowo-n’djo founded Alaffia to alleviate poverty and advance gender equality. In addition to fair prices and wages, Alaffia provides equal employment opportunities, engages in environmentally sustainable practices, and provides healthy and safe working conditions. They also keep products affordable by eliminating middlemen: Alaffia’s United States branch sells directly to stores.
I’ve been using Alaffia’s African Black Soap (Tangerine Citrus scent) ever since meeting Olowo-n’djo and would like to offer this endorsement: it’s smooth and delightful to use, and it removes bike grease from my hands better than anything else in my experience. Which is fitting, because Alaffia has also donated 6,300 bikes to its communities!
Read more on their website: http://www.alaffia.com/fair-trade.asp