Several years ago, my friend Kathy gave me some of her goat milk soap. I thought, "Wow! This is really great! I would love to have her come and teach the nomad women how to make soap -- from yak milk!" Since yak milk has 8-12% butterfat, I thought that this could be really great soap, plus it could enhance the livlihood of some nomad women, give them an income, improve their situation, etc. This dream became a reality this past month.
This is such a typical picture of a nomad woman, milking her yak, in front of a black yak hair tent. These black tents are being replace by white factory-made tents, that are lighter weight and easier to put up and take down.
My goat milk soap friends are back in the States, the nomad women have continued to make some good yak milk soap, and I am in my apartment catching up on emails and connecting with friends. What difference have we made? For right now, these nomad women have learned a new skill. They have a new way of making a little extra income. This is very important, since more and more nomads are being put into urban areas.
What is the impact on the community? More yak fat is being sold... more oils are being utilized... etc., etc. The community economics can only improve when there is a new product sold. What will the impact be in the future? We don't know, but this project could impact these families and others for generations to come, and hopefully be one way to transform their lives.