Madaba (Jordan) (AFP)

"Donkey milk on my body, what madness!"

When donkey milk soap was launched in Jordan, the product was often derided.

But a year later, Salma al-Zohbi's family business is crumbling under control.

The ingredients for this success: a small farm, 12 donkeys and their milk.

But the beginnings in 2020 were difficult, says Imad Atiyat, the son of Ms. Zohbi and one of the partners of the Atan (donkey in Arabic) Donkey Milk Soaps company.

The producers then got the idea to distribute this soap for free for a while.

And it worked well.

Orders have started to flow to reach 4,500 soaps per month today.

"We receive praise like + God bless your efforts + or + continue like this +", congratulates Mr. Atiyat, 32 years old.

He milks his donkeys three times a day with electric milking machines.

Each animal produces two liters of milk daily.

Half of it is used to feed the donkeys and the other half for soap production.

The milk is frozen and then transferred to the workshop in Amman.

One liter of milk makes 30 soaps.

It is the only place in Jordan and the Middle East where soap is produced from donkey milk, already known in Turkey and Europe.

- "I love" -

"The idea sprouted when I learned the importance and usefulness of donkey's milk which looks like a woman's milk," says Ms. Zohbi, dressed in protective gear and wearing gloves and a mask. , mixing ingredients in a large metal bowl.

According to her, "research is underway to confirm that donkey milk helps regenerate skin cells, reduce signs of aging but also treat skin diseases such as eczema" .

Boasting its benefits, the 60-year-old says it also helps hydrate the skin, fade spots and reduce acne.

Faithful client Isra al-Turk, a 48-year-old lawyer, is delighted.

"As an environmental activist, I love these kinds of natural products."

Salma al-Zohbi in the donkey milk soap making workshop in Amman, Jordan, August 12, 2021 Khalil MAZRAAWI AFP

"Since using the soap, I am more confident and I leave my house without makeup," says the woman who wears the veil.

Dietitian Susanna Haddad, from "Reviva" beauty center in Amman, shares her satisfaction.

This milk is richer in moisturizing substances and protects the skin against UV rays, she adds.

- 100% natural and Jordanian -

Standing near the barn built with recycled materials, Mr. Atiyat proudly talks about his product, which also includes olive oil, almonds, coconut and shea butter.

"All the ingredients are natural and 100% Jordanian".

The soaps, sold on the company's Facebook account, are not very cheap.

A block of 85 grams costs eight dinars (9.50 euros) and that of 125 grams 10 dinars (nearly 12 euros).

For comparison, in Europe, a liter of donkey milk can be sold for 60 euros and the most expensive cheeses are produced with this milk.

According to Ms. Zohbi, the project has also created jobs for several members of her family.

"As for my son Imad who has been faced with unemployment for many years" in a country where it affects 50% of young people.

Imad Atiyat in the farm he operates in Madaba, 35 kilometers from Amman, Jordan on August 12, 2021 Khalil MAZRAAWI AFP

Faced with the "success" of his soap, Mr. Atiyat wants to launch new products.

“Face creams and hand creams” are the next challenges.

© 2021 AFP