Lulu Life body butter offers the nutritive properties of South Sudan's nilotica shea oil in a light, creamy skin ointment. Nilotica shea nuts yield a light oil that can be directly transformed into creams without excessive processing.
We use this pure, light cream to soothe dry skin and condition abrasions on skin of all ages. Since the light cream melts at body temperature, it's great for massage.
LULU LIFE: A WOMAN-CRAFTED INDUSTRY IN SOUTH SUDAN
The Lulu Livelihoods program was founded in 2000 by the French
non-government organization MEDIC (Medical Emergency and Development
International Committee) in response to rampant hunger and need in
conflict torn Sudan.
Over the past decade, Lulu Livelihoods
and its various arms have created an infrastructure for a sustainable
shea oil industry for the women of Southern Sudan, ensuring the rights
of Sudanese women as the traditional guardians of Sudan's lulu (shea
nut) tree. Processing lulu oil is extremely labor-intensive, but with
proper storage, lulu oil can be preserved year round for use. Through
the careful organization of nut collection sites and oil processing
centers, enough lulu oil can be produced in Southern Sudan to meet
local demand and to convert surplus oil into marketable skin care
The Lulu Tree:
Sudan's Vital Natural Resource
nilotica variety of shea nut tree (called lulu in Arabic) grows mainly
in a narrow band of savannah extending from Senegal to Ethiopia. Lulu
trees grow abundantly on the ironstone plateau and the alluvial
plains of Southern Sudan. This medium sized deciduous tree rarely
exceeds 15m, and is estimated to
live between 200 to 300 years, with 15 to 20 years of growth required
Because the tree's rich bounty of nutritious lulu nuts yields at the exact
time of the seasonal hunger, the lulu tree is greatly celebrated in
Southern Sudan as a vital natural resource. The economic value of lulu nuts is also extremely
high, providing women guardians with income and household food security.
Nilotica vs Paradoxa:
The Advantage of Purity
The vitellaria nilotica
variety of shea nut varies from the better-known paradoxa variety that
has been commercially exploited in West Africa for decades. The oil
from darker paradoxa nuts has to be bleached and deodorized before
processing into skin care products, so the resulting butters lack the
untouched purity of butters crafted from nilotica oil.
nilotica oil has a naturally pure and mild flavor that requires little
processing, it has become a highly coveted additive for natural skin
and hair care products. Rich in olein, nilotica oil from Sudan
is superior in cosmetics and is known in Sudan and around the world for its positive effects on the
digestive system, the hair and skin.
The Guardians of Life
Over the past century, the secrets of the lulu shea nut have been
unearthed and passed down by Sudanese women, the traditional guardians
of the lulu tree. The women share a symbiotic relationship with this
life-giving tree, eating the fruit, processing the nuts into oil and
enjoying the tree's cool shade. The nutritious oil was particularly
important during Sudan's civil war and is still a main source of food
security during the yearly dry season.
Turning Nuts into Oil
Wild-crafted, non-certified organic lulu
nuts are collected and fully dried, then pounded into a mash using a
large mortar and pestle called a funduk. Women push the mash
through a hand-powered cold press mill that squeezes the oil from the
nuts, retaining the nutritive properties and yielding a clear, lightly
scented oil that transforms readily into a creamy butter. The women add
beeswax and essential plant oils to convert the lulu oil into naturally pure soaps and
Lulu Works: The Company behind the Lulu Life label
In 2005, Lulu Works Ltd., the parent company of the Lulu Life skin care brand,
established training projects that teach women better techniques to
alleviate the intensive labor process and helped set up processing and
nut collection centers. Lulu Works integrates lulu groups working in
isolation of each other, using the capacity of the group to give each woman access to otherwise unreachable markets.
Lulu Life Trust: Profits for the People
The Lulu Life Trust is the financial arm of the Lulu Livelihoods program that ensures that profits from Lulu Life
brand products return to the workers at the 40 women-owned-and-operated
lulu butter processing centers. As a non-profit trust, Lulu Works sees
that fair trade income reaches a total of 800 women in Southern Sudan,
helping them maintain a healthy household with money for food,
clothing, education and medical care. Sustainable living coupled with a
wide variety of productive investments is contributing greatly to the
development of the local economy.
A few of the ladies shared their thoughts about working with Lulu Works:
used to walk all day or all night to get to a market and sell my
harvest, for very little money. I didn't even have enough money for
clothes or shoes. My children could never go to school. Now all my
children go to school. With this work, the women in our village have
been bringing a lot more money in the family than the husbands, so much
that the husbands now come to beg the group to employ their women.
Rebecca Ukuol I
cannot read or write. I have three children less than 6 years. I used
to earn money by making beer and alcohol but now I do not have time to
do this. I wanted to do other work that did not mean I was to make
drinks. Lulu work pays me money so I can do things for my children. I
want to build my own home. I love my work and do it well.
Unia SingajooMy biggest dream is that all my grandchildren get an education, so that they can get a good job and they can then look after me and I can rest in a good home. I thank Lulu Life for helping me get closer to that dream.
Swahili Imports and the Lulu Life Label
spring of 2008, Leslie traveled into Sudan to visit several of the Lulu
Works processing centers. At every location, she was greeted by
smiling, dancing, ululating ladies dressed in matching aprons and head
wraps. Leslie shared our appreciation for the opportunity to represent
Lulu Works in the United States and spent a few moments explaining the
part we play in seeing that their skin care products make it to
appreciative customers in the U.S.
journey into the remote reaches of Sudan emphasizes our adherence to
fair trade interactions in Africa. Whenever possible, we strive to meet
face-to-face with as many of our artisans and producer groups as time
allows. The exchange of ideas and goodwill communicated in these
meetings can only truly occur during face-to-face interaction, so we
believe that every uncomfortable moment spent bumping along unpaved
roads under the heat of Sudan's equatorial sun is worth it, hundreds of
Lulu Life in a Nutshell
Lulu Livelihoods program offers a mutually beneficial way to directly
empower the women of South Sudan with fair trade income. By purchasing
Lulu Life brand skin care products, you not only treat your skin to some of the best nutrients the earth has to offer, but you also help bring economic stability
to Southern Sudan, enabling families to provide their
children with an education and a bright future.