Aliya Hakim: washing the world in hope

Hakim, 14, makes a large variety of soaps and candles which alternate with the seasons (Photo Credit: Theresa Benton).

Soap is not something people tend to think about much. It is an object that is a part of everyday life, often used mindlessly. This is not the case for freshman Aliya Hakim, however. To Hakim, soap is much more than that.

Two years ago, Hakim volunteered for a charity event and signed up to make soap. It was then that Hakim came up with the idea for her own charity, Soap4Hope.
“Our motto is ‘Washing away poverty, one soap at a time’,” Hakim said.

Hakim makes soaps and candles from scratch with her older sister, junior Nadia Hakim, and sells them at Miller’s Big Red Apple Farm in Romeo and other events like art fairs. Soaps cost around $6 each, and candles are sold for around $10. For every candle or soap sold, Hakim donates a bar of soap to Haven, a house for victims of domestic violence in Pontiac, or Zaman International in Dearborn, which is an international humanitarian program. Both charities benefit struggling women and children.

Hakim explained that a lot of work goes into making the all-natural soaps, which are made from soy-based products. She mixes sodium hydroxide with four oils: coconut, castor, palm, and olive. The mixture is then heated to a temperature close to 80 degrees. Different scents and colors are added to the mix before it is poured into a mold, where a chemical change takes place over the course of two to three days. The soaps are left to sit a few more weeks before being sold. She enjoys making the soaps though, knowing it is for a good cause.

Last year, Hakim sold 400 soaps/candles. She then donated 200 of them to each charity. Hakim explained that victims of domestic violence who seek refuge at Haven are often scared and alone, and the simple gift of a bar of soap can mean a lot.

“When they [the victims] are running from their home and violence, they sometimes don’t have anything but the clothes on their back,” Hakim said. “It’s more of a gift than just a bar of soap.”

Once the soaps are donated, the charity is able to either give them to those they help, or sell them again to help cover costs. Hakim doesn’t ask for a royalty from these sales.  She is just glad she can help in some way.

“I really want to see the change in the world and see how far this gets,” Hakim said. “I really like helping people.”

If you want to support Soap4Hope, you can visits Miller’s Big Red Apple Farm, order the products from, or email the Hakims at [email protected].