The Zarqa Life Center (ZLC) was established as a response to the economic challenges faced by vulnerable communities in Zarqa. After receiving an influx of refugees from war-torn Syria, the city had to accommodate 100,000 new residents despite an already strained economic situation. In its early stages, the Center served simply as a safe space where women could come to share their collective pain and to participate in daily life together. They began to heal, make friendships, and slowly rebuild their lives, as the Center continued expanding its services to meet the growing needs of the community. Through the ZLC, women are now empowered to thrive through various programs focusing mainly on vocational training, entrepreneurship, and education.
The Zarqa Life Center aims to reduce food insecurity and promote the independence and empowerment of women as active contributors to their households and communities.
ZLC’s “Soap Story” project has started with one piece of soap brought by a Syrian woman in her quest to find ways to support her family as she has become the head of her household. Women motivated like her started to come to ZLC in order to find new ways for generating dignified income for themselves and their families. Crafts such as soap making or sewing grew to become the main 2 projects of ZLC.
The name “Soap Story” came naturally because the whole story of ZLC livelihood projects started with one piece of soap, and because there is a unique story behind every piece of soap.
The name “Zarqa Life Center” comes from the center’s mission “For women to live an emotionally and physically healthy LIFE."
The Soap Story workshop offers a variety of high-quality Jordanian olive oil-based soaps, ranging from affordable ones to the luxury line RIWA, all lovingly handcrafted from natural and mostly locally sourced ingredients.
As for the Sewing workshop; it produces shopping bags, tote bags, origami bags, table runners, cushion covers, tissue boxes of many colors, and patterns made from Bedouin and Syrian fabrics.
Soap Story’s soaps are made using the cold processed method. The basic recipe contains 40% Jordanian virgin olive oil from the Ajloun region. Other ingredients include natural shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, Jordanian sourced palm oil, essential oils, fragrance oils as well as other natural ingredients, plus saponified sodium hydroxide.
The soap-making begins with mixing precisely measured ingredients which are then poured into molds, removed after 24 hours, and cured on shelves for 30 days, after which each piece of soap is lovingly refined, packaged, and labeled.
For the sewing products, the Sewing Workshop uses traditional Bedouin design fabrics, premium quality Syrian textiles as well as pure cotton, linen blend, and various silk blend materials.
Each product begins with a design that is developed by a team of volunteers. The pattern is then formed and first tested on raw materials, once it's perfected the production starts.
ZLC faced a few challenges through their Soap Story project; as in soap making the main hardship was developing a unique chemically compatible recipe for each soap and to attain certification by the Food and Drug Administration.
While the main challenge remains about educating the local market on the quality and skilled craftsmanship of the products.
Despite all these challenges, ZLC plans to become a sustainable business model, that will be able to support more women and their families in the local community of Zarqa. ZLC is also willing to offer room diffusers; that contain high quality, long-lasting, and carefully selected scents sourced from organic essential oils.
The soap workshop has so far supported 4 women. On the other hand, two women in the sewing workshop are sole breadwinners and heads of households, while three others are contributing substantially to their family income. A portion of the revenues from the sales of the products was allocated to support the Food Bank program of ZLC.
You also can be part of supporting these creative women by purchasing their high-quality products available Now at Souqfann!