Reducing Waste. Saving Lives. One Bar Of Soap At A Time.
On any given day, an estimated 2.6 million bars of used soap are thrown away by hotels in the United States. At the same time, more than 2.4 million children die each year from issues related to poor hygiene and sanitation, such as diarrhea and pneumonia.
Derreck Kayongo was born in Uganda, and grew up a refugee in Kenya after he and his family fled the brutality of Idi Amin. He saw first hand the horrors that so many vulnerable people around the world experience every day, including poor sanitation and hygiene.
When Derreck traveled to the United States to attend college, his first experience spending the night in a hotel made him realize that soap — life-saving soap — was being thrown away in unimaginable quantities. After looking at the issue more closely, he learned that more than 2.6 million bars of soap are thrown away each and every day by hotels in the United States alone. At the same time, more than 2.4 million children are dying each year because of issues directly related to poor sanitation and hygiene. The good news is that handwashing with soap reduces the death rates from diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia by as much as 47%. If every child could have a bar of soap, millions of lives could be saved each year.
Derreck immediately knew that he wanted to make a difference and save lives, so he launched the Global Soap Project in 2009. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, GSP recycles used hotel soap into new bars and ships them to vulnerable populations in 22 countries around the world.
In 2011, Derreck was recognized as a Top 10 CNN Hero. That same year, Hilton Worldwide agreed to support GSP by providing used soap, and financial support, to help GSP expand its impact.
Today, GSP is led by its Executive Director, Sam Stephens. Growing their reach and impact is a top priority for him. ‘We’re honored to partner with over 850 hotels today,’ says Stephens. ‘We want to reduce as much waste as possible and save as many lives as possible, and do it with a focus on long-term impact sustainability. If we could get a bar of soap into the hands of every vulnerable person in areas with poor sanitation and hygiene, we know that the quality of life — and the chances of survival — go up significantly.’
GSP works with hundreds of volunteers each year at its plant in Atlanta to help recycle the soap. GSP is also actively partnering with NGOs around the world to distribute the soap. They look for opportunities to have the greatest impact possible, while ensuring there is a plan for long-term sustainability. In addition, they work to provide an educational component, to ensure that the soap is part of a comprehensive hygiene system.
‘Together,’ says Stephens, ‘we can help save the environment and help save millions of lives. It doesn’t get much better than that.’
More About This Charity
Charity of the Year, Health and Well Being
Global Soap Project
Reducing waste. Saving lives. One bar of soap at a time.
- More than 36 Tons of Used Soap Recycled
- 300,000 New Soap Bars Made from Recycled Soap
- Soap Distributed to Vulnerable Populations in 22 Countries.
USA, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Haiti, Ghana, Uzbekistan, Swaziland, Cameroon, Afghanistan, Malawi, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Equador, Tunisia, and more