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THE REGENERATIVE POWER OF DONKEY MILK SOAP

Photography by Pixabay

POOJA KAUL IS A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR FROM INDIA, AND THE FOUNDER OF ORGANIKO; WHO PRODUCE NATURALLY SOURCED SOAPS MADE FROM DONKEY’S MILK. POOJA’S JOURNEY GOES BEYOND THE PRODUCTION OF THESE SOAPS, AS SHE STRIVES TO EDUCATE SOCIETY ON DONKEYS AND HOW THEIR OWNERS CAN MAKE A MORE SUSTAINABLE LIVING WITH THEM.

Words By Lida Ormol

For the majority of us (hopefully), soap falls under the same umbrella as any other personal-care product. However, the beautifully handcrafted Organiko soaps, made in India, present an alternative ingredient to what we might usually use, Donkey’s milk. These bars of soap are inspired by ancient Egyptian beauty secrets and leave its buyer with nothing, but a feeling of luxury and delicate skin. This perhaps unusual ingredient, contains many vitamins, proteins, and minerals that nourish and rejuvenate the skin. 

Pooja Kaul founded Organiko in 2017. What initially started as a university project, then evolved into a start-up to find a solution for creating an alternative, better livelihood opportunity for donkeys in India. Where they are often exploited by poor communities, made to work long hours and carry unbearably heavy loads by directly contributing to enable their owners to participate in work. In addition, their population has sharply fallen in India and worldwide. Highlighting the challenges she has faced, Pooja told us, ‘’our journey doesn’t stop here, we have to mentally prepare the consumers to use our soaps made from donkey’s milk and then the suppliers who are the donkey owners and have never heard of selling their donkey’s milk, because it is not a common practice for business in India.’’

Photography from Organiko

Furthermore she said, ‘’of course, we are self-funded, in the beginning when I left my full-time job to focus on Organiko, I had no financial support, but I must emphasize that our project has gotten the Indian Government’s attention and they are now planning to start the first ever donkey dairy farm. I see that more and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of donkey milk, and daily we receive calls from number of people who want to sell us the milk.’’ 

Speaking of how she selects which suppliers to work with while taking care of good animal management practices for donkey milk production by those suppliers, Pooja explained, ‘’We work with suppliers residing in rural communities and we don’t have a private farm. Furthermore, we have certain parameters to make sure that we get equal amounts of milk from a number of donkeys, and then also to make sure it is of good quality and the donkey is healthy. For that we provide the donkey owners with the facility of taking their donkey’s to the vet and there is someone from our team who goes to collect the milk. We ascertain ourselves that there is enough milk left for the foal and that no animal is harmed.’’

Pooja stressed that there are many existing campaigns by NGOs regarding the welfare of tigers, horses, dogs, and birds. ‘’But so far nobody has talked about donkeys, and in 2019 we started ‘Save The Donkey – India’ campaign for which we received positive responses both nationally and internationally, and from which there are now more people talking in favor of protecting donkeys, and we also are seeing a growth in our exports.’’

Pooja’s hard work was awarded and appreciated by many such as; Forbes 30 under 30 for social entrepreneur of 2020, and The Diana Award 2020, among others. Following that, she is expanding Organiko into other Indian cities’, and adding other new products to her product line in the near future, as part of her ongoing projects.