It all begins with wild shea fruits. Inside the fruit is the hard shell and contained within the hard shell is a softer part of a nut called the Kernel. The time-consuming extraction of the kernel is done by hand. 100's of kernels are then crushed by hand with a wooden mortar before it can pass through the grinding mill to be made into powder. Water is now added to the powder and kneaded to emulsify the oil. The emulsified oil is boiled to eliminate all water; the oil is strained, cooled, packed and your bag of freshly made shea butter is shipped to your house.
All of the stages mentioned are currently done by hand, and it is incredibly time-consuming and challenging. The women will like to instead reduce the stress of the entire process with the help of a few machines (which they will operate) still leaving them with essential manual steps like kneading which they choose to make into a social fun activity and bonding moment.
What mechanizing some of these tedious activities like the crushing of the hard nuts will do is cut down production time which does not mean less work for the women but more time to produce more high-quality shea. Increasing production and turn around time means more money back into the hands of these hardworking women and their communities.
Your donation will help us make a difference in the lives of these hardworking women. Your contribution will enable us to purchase a grinding mill, and other equipment, to help speed up our continued growth and expansion. This will lead to job creation for the women in Ghana, and also potential job creation right here in Charlottesville and beyond.