Soap for South Sudan: Nonprofit donates 10,000 bars to ministry
The tiny bar of soap you use during your hotel stay may be helping people thousands of miles away — in the new nation of South Sudan.
The Atlanta-based nonprofit Global Soap Project recently donated 10,000 bars of soap — made from recycled hotel soap — to The Sudan Project, a mission outreach of the Mt. Juliet Church of Christ in Tennessee.
For families living on the equivalent of $1 per day in South Sudan and other African nations, soap is a luxury they can’t afford.
But soap also is “a first line of defense” against child mortality around the world, says Derreck Kayongo, founder of Global Soap. Kayongo was in Tennessee recently to announce the donation of soap to The Sudan Project. The soap totals about 2,500 pounds and will be shipped by Healing Hands International, a Nashville, Tenn.-based shipping and relief mission supported by Churches of Christ. Sudanese Christians will distribute the bars.
“It seems only logical that those who are trying to cleanse the souls of South Sudanese should also be distributing a product that will help cleanse their bodies of potential illness,” said Don Humphrey, coordinator of The Sudan Project. The ministry is building a ministry training school and medical clinic in the village of Parajok, South Sudan. (See my report from Parajok from our August issue, part of our ongoing Global South series.)
Kayongo is a native of Uganda, an African nation just a few miles south of Parajok. He thought of the idea for Global Soap in the early 1990s, when he first arrived in the U.S. and stayed at a hotel in Philadelphia, according to CNN:
He noticed that his bathroom was replenished with new soap bars every day, even though they were only slightly used.
“I tried to return the new soap to the concierge since I thought they were charging me for it,” Kayongo said. “When I was told it was just hotel policy to provide new soap every day, I couldn’t believe it.”
Kayongo called his father — a former soap maker in Uganda — and shared the experience.
“My dad said people in America can afford to throw it away. But I just started to think, ‘What if we took some of this soap and recycled it, made brand new soap from it and then sent it home to people who couldn’t afford soap?’ “
That’s exactly what Kayongo has done since 2009. Now the mission-minded entrepreneur is a top 10 finalist for CNN’s Heroes. (Click on the link to vote.)
Next Saturday, Oct. 15, is Global Handwashing Day. The event was launched in 2008 to “foster and support a global culture of handwashing with soap, shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in every country and raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.”
Here’s some more information from the Global Handwashing Day website:
Handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries every year. Together, they are responsible for the majority of all child deaths. Yet, despite its lifesaving potential, handwashing with soap is seldom practiced and difficult to promote.
Turning handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into an ingrained habit could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter. A vast change in handwashing behavior is critical to meeting the Millennium Development Goal of reducing deaths among children under the age of five by two-thirds by 2015.
Global Handwashing Day focuses on children because not only do they suffer disproportionately from diarrheal and respiratory diseases and deaths, but research shows that children – the segment of society so often the most energetic, enthusiastic, and open to new ideas – can also be powerful agents for changing behaviors like handwashing with soap in their communities.
FeedbackDear brethren, Greetings from Juba. I hope all is well by the grace of God, I would like to know where does this soap project being implemented. Some of our local church of Christ may benefit out it. i am writing from Juba and minister for a local church called Gudele Church of Christ.(GCC)
Evangelist Peter lasu LaduPeter lasu laduOctober, 8 2011I would like to know how I can participate in this project. An address where I can send the soap would be helpful. Thanks.BillieOctober, 9 2011Peter: The soap donation is going to The Sudan Project, which works out of Parajok in South Sudan. Isaya Jackson, an evangelist for the church there, lives in Juba and works with a house church there. You might want to try contacting him for more details. Best to you and your work in South Sudan.
Billie: Visit <a href=”http://www.globalsoap.org” rel=”nofollow”>www.globalsoap.org</a> for more information on donating to or supporting the Global Soap Project. From looking at the website, it seems that the organization is interested in getting in touch with people who operate hotels and can provide them with large quantities of used hotel soap for their work. I doubt that they’re accepting individual donations of soap. But I would contact them for more info. Thanks for reading!Erik TryggestadOctober, 10 2011