Handwashing is essential to prevent disease, but it’s a luxury many refugees cannot afford—until now with the Global Soap Project.
The next time you unwrap a miniature soap at one of Hilton’s 3,700 hotels, rest assured that the barely used leftovers won’t end up in the trash. Instead, reports Treehugger (November 8, 2011), the hospitality giant has paired with the Global Soap Project, a venture founded by social entrepreneurs Derreck and Sarah Kayongo in 2009 with a brilliantly simple mission: “Collect the little soap bars that are discarded at hotels—an estimated 2.6 million bars a day in North America alone—melt them all together, and then cut new bars that can be sent to refugee camps and other communities in need of such basic supplies.”
Hilton Worldwide has invested $1.3 million in the Global Soap Project, which recently shipped 2.5 tons of soap to South Sudan, where, according to Treehugger, “infant and maternal mortality rates are among the worst in the world.” The simple act of handwashing before assisting in childbirth reduces death rates by 19 percent and is the single best way to prevent the transmission of potentially fatal diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. Derreck Kayongo, who was named a CNN top 10 hero of 2011, recognizes that for vulnerable populations, the prospect of good personal hygiene is quite simply a life-altering opportunity.