Gertrude is 63 years old. At her age, in Burkina Faso, many surrender to old age. But not her. 16 years ago Gertrude founded the group, now a cooperative, Wend Raabo. What’s more, she is the president. She firmly believes that unity is strength and for this reason she created the cooperative. “Alone we go faster, but together we go further”, she explains, because by combining knowledge and experience we can grow more.

Gertrude and her colleagues produce shea butter, a product of the shea tree, universally known for its moisturizing and nourishing properties in the cosmetic field, but which is also used as a food. And what’s more, the shea trees shade the whole village!

Gertrude tells me that shea butter should never be missing at home too: she uses it for cooking, for massaging children, for keeping any wounds moisturized and above all, after every shower, to always have beautiful soft skin (the secret of her youth: look at the photos to believe!).

Obviously Wend Raabo has many competitors on the Burkinabé market: “we are not afraid of them” says Gertrude “it is true that there are many associations and groups that produce it, but ours is among the best”. Thanks to the project “Innovative social enterprises and migrants participation for social inclusion in Burkina Faso“, in fact, Wend Raabo has received equipment for a modern and efficient production that allows to reduce waste and increase quantity and quality.

When Gertrude founded Wend Raabo, she wanted many young people to join it, a segment of society that struggles to access funding for business start-ups, who often lack the means and the opportunity to attend training courses and due to this has a very high unemployment rate: “I would like Wend Raabo to become a large shea butter factory” says Gertrude “I would be the director and I would give work to many young people and many women who would receive a salary and could thus be economically independent. For my part, I could pay the school fees of my grandchildren and take care of the whole family, because I’m a widow and they can only count on me”.

Here are some photos of Gertrude and her cooperative.


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