Unsung heroes of COVID-19
Kenyan soap maker Innocent Havyarimana. Courtesy: UNHCR

Unsung Heroes Of Corona Crisis: Story Of A Kenyan Soap Maker

May 23, 2020

It is said that the best within us comes out only during a crisis situation. COVID-19 pandemic has done just that- it has given birth to many unsung heroes.

Unsung because, either we hear very little about them or we hear nothing at all.

Burundian refugee Innocent Havyarimana is one among the few such unsung heroes about whom the world has surely not heard much.

Even we got to know about him accidentally and his story inspired us in many ways.

Havyarimana is a Burundian refugee who is a Kenyan soap maker.

When he first heard that hand washing is crucial in preventing coronavirus, he did something unthinkable!

Havyarimana lowered the prices of his soaps, without thinking much about profits.

His act can be replicated only a few businessmen, especially during such a crisis situation.

His aim, as he says, was to make his soap as accessible as possible and so he also boosted production.

“Everyone needs soap. I decided to reduce the price so that everyone would be able to afford it,” UNHCR reported quoting him.

Coronavirus has left many people feeling helpless, but Havyarimana is an example of someone who saw an opportunity to make a difference and took it.

His soap is quite famous among the fellow refugees, aid workers and the local community in Kenya's Kakuma camp.

Havyarimana further informed that he varies the size of his containers so that even the ones with 50 cents can buy his product.

This unsung hero had fled a conflict-hit Burundi in 2013 and started his business of liquid soap after receiving a loan from UNHCR.

Havyarimana has a diploma in chemistry and he has also worked for a chemical company back in Burundi.

"Coronavirus has affected the world. Refugees are also afraid and that is why they are always washing their hands now,” he said.

The worst of situations tend to bring out the best in us.

In pandemic situations it is these unsung heroes who come as a gust of fresh air and makes us realise that everything is not lost yet!

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