Members of the small groups are parents of children supported by Mwana Ukundwa Association (Huye section). These members are widows and a number of them are HIV infected. The majority came from exile where they spent 34 years in Burundi and Republic of Congo; others are survivors of Genocide and widows because of different reasons. As the group has gotten bigger, they've decided to make two small groups, one of 21 members (Abahuje) and the other one of 19 members (Abakoreramurukundo). Parents in the two groups look after 52 children in primary school, and 10 in secondary school. Four children live in child-headed households where the members of the groups supervise them. (It is worth mention that those women don't have a land were they can grow food as other family in country.)
The two groups make soap. They started by learning how to make the basic soap. Now they are learning how to put some perfume in it, and how to make medical soap. The group members also are the ones who take the soap to the market and sell them. The money earned in this way is used for buying materials, and to sort out the problems of the families looking after the children. Apart from economical benefit they get from the project, the project encourages occasions to socialise and provide mutual support to one another, including home visits to see how each child is cared for in his/her family. They advocate on behalf of orphans that are in their families and in their community. They also meet to share ideas on the project and other subjects. Members of groups give a monthly contribution of 200 Rwandan francs. They are connected with a bank where they save their money. The bank will possibly be a source of credit as the projects grow.
AMU provided money to set up the project, and helps with management and technical training in order to improve the quality of their products and operations. AMU buys the soap from the project, to be given to poor families and to students in primary and secondary school. The Association also pays the education and medical care of orphans in those families, with hope that in the future, the foster parents and others will be able to care for their children without help from AMU.
The project plans to buy some machine that will help them produce greater quantities of soap per day and to improve the quality of their products. See proposal here. They also plan to continue to get more training on how to make different type of soaps. Soon they want to start making skin oil as well.