Wafa'a makes her candles through Prosperity Candle, a Massachusetts-based company that hopes to give struggling women around the world the tools and distribution they need to start their own companies selling candles on local and international markets. Co-founder Amber Chand, whose Indian family was ejected from Uganda in 1972 after Idi Amin seized power, knows what it's like to be left on her own in an uncertain world.
For her, Prosperity Candle is a way of giving women the tools they need to support themselves. And Baghdad was the only place to start it.
"We felt if we could prove our model in Baghdad, with the bombs coming down, then we could expand this model to any other part of the world," she told AOL News.
Seven years of war and occupation have taken a heavy toll -- there are 2 million war widows in Iraq, and now-independent women with families to feed have become an economic driving force out of necessity.
And when women get money, it tends to take a much quicker route to their families and local communities. As the old saying goes, "Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime. Teach a woman to fish, and everyone eats."
It was vital to Chand and her partner, Ted Barber, that what they started was not a charity but a for-profit entity with a mission.
"In moments of sheer devastation, it's critical that we have relief efforts to support the people," she says. "But at the end of the day, people need dignity, and dignity comes from creating your own destiny."
They chose candles because they represent a sort of craftsmanship common denominator -- they were simple to make, required few supplies, could be made in any kitchen and were easily scalable.
But there was something more than practical with the candles as well. They are symbols for what the company is trying to accomplish. Even in what might seem like the darkest corners of the earth, these women are making points of light.
Chand and Barber couldn't travel to Baghdad for security reasons, so they distributed candle-making materials through their partner organization, Women for Women International. But in the Internet age, physical distance only matters so much; they were able to train the women in Baghdad from their offices in Northampton, Mass., using Skype.
Wafa'a hopes to make enough money to buy a small car, get medical attention for her son and maybe send another one of her sons to college. And she's training other women how to make candles as well.