Is soap the new chocolate?

CambodiaPortugal

Inês Botelho is about to go on a journey from her home country of Portugal all the way to Cambodia. Travelling with Tearfund Go, she will be spending six months supporting our partner the Cambodian Hope Organisation in their anti-trafficking work.

Washing her hands of the stereotypical fundraising tropes, Ines decided to do something different to raise money for her placement.

When I first sat doing the maths to work out my placement costs I thought: 'Lord, I need a miracle!'. I felt anxious about asking people for money, so decided to apply for temporary jobs instead. From a bakery to babysitting I applied for everything and anything, but unfortunately with no success. I was starting to question if I should go overseas at all. But instead of giving up I decided to pray.

Suds on the brain
A couple of weeks later I was talking to someone about Christmas presents. He used the phrase 'soap is the new chocolate'. That sentence wouldn't get out of my head – I couldn't stop thinking about soap!

So I started to pray about it and came to the conclusion that I should make my own soap to sell this Christmas. After some research on the internet I bought the required material and production began.

A family affair
The best part of fundraising has been the friendships I’ve strengthened. So many people have offered to help me out with my soap making mission. My two brothers and sister are helping me with the production, packaging and selling and my mum is our social media representative! It’s been a brilliant way for them to get involved and feel like they are part of my volunteering journey.

Most of my customers have been friends and family, but I also attended a music event to sell my soap. This gave me the chance to chat with people and explain more about who Tearfund are, what I’m doing and why. It’s something that’s out of my comfort zone, but has taught me a lot. When we get stuck in and show an interest in people, it's amazing how willing they are to engage.

The power of prayer
I sold my first soap on 27 October and have made 325 € (£276). It's close to what I would receive in some of those jobs I applied for, and this way I get to be at home, spending quality time with my family and friends before I go.

The best advice I have is simple: pray. My prayers are often a quick sentence in the busyness of my day, asking God to provide. God cares, he's with us, he understands how we feel and he is ready to help us with our needs and desires.

Visit Tearfund Go to find out more about our exciting placement opportunities.

Inês Botelho