January 2012

Derreck Kayongo and the Global Soap Project

Derreck KayongoDerreck Kayongo

Derreck Kayongo

Derreck Kayongo shows the soap that his group recycles and ships to countries in need.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the soap you use while staying in a hotel? After you leave, the barely-used soap most likely gets thrown away. This shocked Derreck Kayongo when he first came from Africa to live in the United States. Growing up in the nations of Kenya and Uganda, Kayongo remembered times when his family did not have enough money to buy soap. Washing your hands with soap is a simple and important way to prevent many kinds of disease. In some poor countries, however, children die from diseases because their families do not have enough money to buy soap.

Kayongo started to think about how helpful it would be if used soap from hotels could be recycled and made into new soap. The new soap could be given to people who needed it. With that idea and the help of others, Kayongo began the Global Soap Project in 2009. Right now, 300 hotels are participating in the program. Volunteers collect the used soap at the hotels. At the Global Soap Project’s warehouse in Atlanta, Georgia, the soap is then sanitized, or cleaned, by heating it to very high temperatures. Then the soap is chilled and cut into bars. Finally, the new soap is shipped to people who need it. So far, more than 100,000 bars of soap have been given to people in nine different countries.

Kayongo is now a citizen of the United States, but he says he will never forget to help people in Africa. In the summer of 2011, he made a trip to Kenya and brought 5,000 bars of soap to children there. For his work with the Global Soap Project, Kayongo was named one of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2011.

Image credit: ©John Bazemore/AP Images

Related Links

Question 1
What is one simple way to prevent diseases?

Question 2
How many countries have benefited from the Global Soap Project so far?

Rate this story:
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars