Derreck Kayongo, a top ten 2011 CNN Hero, has an Atlanta-based Global Soap Project that collects used hotel soap from across the United States. The soaps are cleaned and reprocessed to be shipped to areas like Uganda, Kenya, Haiti and Swaziland. More than 2 million children die each year from diarrheal illnesses due to poor hygiene. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these deaths occur primarily among toddlers living in poor countries.
Each year in the United States, hundreds of millions of soap bars are thrown away and end up in landfills. With the support of his wife, friends and many Atlanta-based hotels, Derreck began his Global Soap Project in 2009. Three hundred hotels nationwide have joined the soap collection effort and so far generated 100 tons of soap! The hotel soaps are collected and shipped by volunteers from across the United States, to the group’s warehouse in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta volunteers assemble at the warehouse on Saturdays, to clean, reprocess and package the bars of soap. A batch of soap bars will only be released once the samples are tested for pathogens and determined to be safe by a third party lab.
Derreck is very familiar with the stress created by poverty and displacement. He fled Uganda with his parents almost 30 years ago due to the mass torture and killings by former Ugandan military dictator Idi Amin. Derreck’s work was recognized by the Atlanta City Council and they declared May 15 as Global Soap Project Day in Atlanta.
We salute you Derreck Kayongo, not because you were chosen as a CNN Hero, but because of your humanitarian effort to make sure that poor children get something as simple as a bar of soap to keep them from dying due to the lack of access to basic sanitation. Find out how you can help with the Global Soap Project. http://www.globalsoap.org/. “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!”