Do It Yourself; Syrian youth produce handmade detergents in Quneitra

UNICEF helps youth to support their families and generate income during COVID-19 pandemic

UNICEF
instructor in class
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Christine Rezk
22 August 2020

Quneitra, Syria, 16 August 2020 – Following the global spread of COVID-19, the demand on hygiene products including detergents is increasing; impacting their availability in the market and raising their prices. In Syria, after years of conflict and depletion of financial resources, the needs of already vulnerable families are compounded by inflation and loss of purchasing power.

“As the prices of basic commodities are on the rise and sometimes in low supply, it is important to empower families to produce items with their own hands,” says trainer Ahmad Kaboul as he starts the hygiene products-making course he is giving to youth in a UNICEF-supported adolescent-friendly space in the town of Khan Arnabeh in Quneitra, southern Syria.

Thanks to a generous contribution from Germany, young people in Khan Arnabeh, aged 10 to 24, are now taking courses to produce hygiene items themselves.

“This course helps youth in several ways,” says Jean Adra, UNICEF facilitator in Quneitra. “They save money and ease the financial burden on their families by producing these items at home at a lower cost; they protect themselves and their families against COVID-19 by ensuring overall hygiene; and they generate income by selling these items,” he explains.

The course covers everything from dishwashing liquid to soap bars, chlorine, hand gel, surface sterilizers and shampoo, among others.

youth making chemicals
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Christine Rezk

"I’m looking forward to using the skills I learned here to not only produce hygiene products for my family but to also sell them for income."

Mohammad, 24, the sole breadwinner for his family

“I’m looking forward to using the skills I learned here to not only produce hygiene products for my family but to also sell them for income,” says Mohammad, 24, the sole breadwinner for his family.

Ahmad, 18, also agrees: “Our community is already vulnerable, so it’s important to introduce cheaper homemade options that benefit both the seller and the buyer,” he says.

youths making chemicals
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Christine Rezk

“I will make sure to add glycerin to make the products friendly on my mother’s hands."

Ruaa, 12