The Global Soap Project is the work of Derreck Kayongo, a Uganda native, who began this special recycling campaign back in 2009. The idea came to him about fifteen years ago when he was visiting the United States and residing in a hotel in Philadelphia. Upon noticing that the soap in the hotel bathroom was replaced every day despite being only slightly used, he decided to share his feelings with his father who was a former soap maker in Uganda.
For both men it seemed a great waste of a product and they couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if they took some of this soap and recycled it into brand new soap and then sent it to people who couldn’t afford to buy it. Koyonga’s mission soon became the collection of soap as a “first line of defense” to combat child mortality all over the world.
Derreck and his volunteers are based in Atlanta, Georgia, where they collect used hotel soap from all over the United States. Serving the double purpose of helping humanity and the environment, instead of ending up in landfills these soaps are cleaned and re-processed and then sent to impoverished nations that include Haiti, Uganda, Kenya and Swaziland.
Hundreds of tons of soap have been collected through the Global Soap Project, and so far 300 hotels throughout the world are donating their soap to this worthy cause. In addition, some hotels are even donating high-end soaps that sell for more than US $25 for a single bar.
Thirty years ago, Kayongo and his family fled Uganda and the murderous legacy of dictator, Idi Amin. He became a college graduate, a U.S. citizen and a field coordinator for CARE International, a private humanitarian aid organization. But he has not forgotten where he comes from and this project is an important way to give back.
Soap bars are not released for shipment until they have been tested for pathogens and deemed safe by a third-party laboratory. The Global Soap Project then ships and distributes the soap for free directly to those in need. To date, more than 100,000 bars of soap have been distributed throughout nine countries.
Who says one person with a noble heart and a dream can’t make a difference in the world?