Jabonería and A More Sustainable NPH

Soap-making workshops bring greater self-sustainability to the home in Guatemala.
February 27, 2013 - Guatemala

Students pour liquid soap into molds where it will set for 3 days.

NPH Guatemala’s vocational workshops introduced a soap-making, or jabonería, workshop to its course offerings in January 2013. It is combined with an agricultural workshop to give the older children enrolled in the course an opportunity to learn about and gain practical experience in both fields. During the school year students will learn to make laundry soap, shampoo, and hand soap.

Administrators hope that the new workshop will help the home become more self-sustainable and economical. Once the students have learned to properly make the products that they use in daily life it will be “one less expense” for the home, says Nancy, sub-coordinator of the workshops.

Tío (care taker) Santos, who instructs the workshop, stated that the home can save approximately 2 Quetzals on each bar of laundry soap made on site rather than bought at a store. 2 Quetzals is equivalent to US $0.25 and these savings, although small, could help reduce overall costs for the home.

Santos volunteered to lead the jabonería workshop at the end of the previous school year when it was obvious that the high number of students in the basic school, all of whom are required to participate in a workshop, would overcrowd the existing courses offered. His experience in soap-making comes from his youth when he was taught jabonería though a project led by students from San Carlos University. He currently produces soap at home and sells it to the public during his free time.

Now, the kids at NPH Guatemala benefit from Santos’ knowledge. Evelyn, one of the students in the workshop, has already learned much since the course began. In her third year of basic school, Evelyn realizes how practical and useful the information could be for her. “If I don’t have sufficient resources, maybe I can use these skills,” Evelyn stated.

Though it has had a promising start, jabonería faces some challenges as a new workshop with outfitting a classroom for soap-making needs and developing a curriculum for the course. Despite these obstacles, administrators think that jabonería will be a positive addition to the existing workshops which will benefit the home by reducing its expenses and making NPH Guatemala more self-sustainable.

Caitlin Zanoni   
Communication Officer




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