Olive Oil Soap
Aseela Women's Cooperative was established in Bethlehem in the fall of 2004 by a group of 13 women. The Cooperative is an innovative entrepreneurial project that aims to empower Palestinian women to generate income for families in refugee camps. Aseela produces high quality olive oil soap in the Palestinian tradition. For the past millennium, Palestinian women would save portions of their olive harvest to create olive oil soap. This tradition can now be accessed by the world through cooperatives like Aseela. Olive oil soap has many health benefits as it is filled with many vitamins and minerals, and is unlike any other soap in the world.
Canaan Fair Trade
BFTA partners with Canaan Fair Trade to sell fair trade, certified organic olive oil soaps. Canaan Fair Trade is a Palestinian NGO that functions on the belief that social and environmental values are interconnected. They work to provide sustainable market opportunities to small scale producers and village-based cooperatives in Palestine. The soaps are handmade by women’s cooperatives using organic olive oil and coconut oil. The women working in these cooperatives follow a traditional Palestinian art that has been passed down for centuries, as women have worked over time to produce useful goods from the beloved olive tree. We feature Canaan Fair Trade soaps with a variety of lovely scents, including bergemont, mint, grapefruit, and lavender. Consider supporting the work that BFTA and Canaan Fair Trade are doing together to support women in making this traditional art available to you.
Today there are still a few soap makers active in Nablus, with the most prominent of them being the Nablus Soap Company. It was founded in 1971 by Mojtaba Tbeleh Adnan, a descendant from a 400 year tradition of soap makers. Olive soap from Nablus is made by hand using a small number of all natural ingredients, with a mixture of olive oil and salt as the basis. This is a very delicate process, which cannot just be done by following the recipe. Decades of experience and knowledge of the Tbeleh family is used by the soap master Mojtaba Tbeleh. The mixture is cooked and then dried. After that, the blocks are carved by the Tubeili, soap makers, and piled into characteristic geometric towers. Smaller blocks are pressed into shape or labelled with the name “Nablus”. The soap must then be left to dry for another few months before it is ready to use. The range is not limited to these characteristic soap blocks, and various other handy soaps are produced. Several types of olive soap are produced, such as pure olive soap, and soaps that contain essential oils, honey, milk, mud from the Dead Sea or dried herbs. Herbs and other ingredients from the Medina of Nablus all have their origins in the Middle East. The famous aroma therapy effect is derived from purely natural ingredients. The advantage is that the soap is ideal for everyday use, even by people with sensitive or problem skin.
We are pleased to introduce Ten Lepers Soap, the most recent addition to BFTA’s product offerings. This organic soap is handmade by farming families in the village of Burqin who use their own harvest of naturally grown, handpicked olives in the production process .
Ten Lepers Soap derives its name from the Bible. According to Christian tradition, Jesus performed the miracle of healing ten lepers in Burqin while traveling from Nazareth to Jerusalem. Today, Burqin is home to 7,000 villagers who rely primarily on agriculture for support.
Due to the political and economic situation in Palestine, farmers in Burqin have struggled in recent years to gain access to markets and customers for their core product—olive oil. Faced with this challenge, a small group of resilient and resourceful Christian families came together in April 2012 to collaborate on a new product—Ten Lepers Soap.
This pure olive oil soap moisturizes and because it is mild, it is ideally suited for sensitive and dry skin.