#321 Saving lives with tiny bars of soap

Anyone who has ever stayed in a hotel has unwrapped a tiny bar of soap, used part of it, and left the rest behind. With millions of people staying in hotels, that’s a lot of soap going to waste.

All that waste bothered Derreck Kayongo when the young man emigrated from Kenya to the United States. His family had been refugees since 1979, when they fled Idi Amin’s horrific regime in Uganda. Derreck knew firsthand the challenges of sanitation in a refugee camp, where clean water and soap are precious and scarce. In his new country, instead of saving lives, the hotel soap was ending up in landfills.

So in 2009 he and his wife started the Global Soap Project. What a simple and brilliant idea. Approach hotels, asking them to gather up the soap. Process the soap so that it is safe and hygienic. Ship it to refugee camps.

Global Soap’s FAQ explains more of the details. It is one of those brilliant ideas that make you slap your head and ask, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Derreck Kayongo, you are one special guy. You have come up with a scheme that not only decreases the amount of stuff added to landfills but saves children’s lives.

You give me hope.

Follow the Global Soap Project on Twitter and Facebook, and ask your local hotels if they participate in the scheme. If they don’t, persuade them to become part of the Global Soap Project.

Meet Derreck and Sarah Kayongo in the video below and learn more about the origins of the project.


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Angela - June 5, 2012

Hi there,
Love this post! Wow, how do you find this stuff? What a brilliant idea. I work with African students here in Vancouver, at UBC, and they have often commented on the waste in our society. This is a great example of how we can benefit others and prevent waste too.

Thanks for this post.


    admin - June 6, 2012

    Hi, Angela – your students probably see waste we don’t even let into our conscious minds. I loved this one too.

    Where do I find them? Truth is, the more I look for them, the more they come around. This blog is making me wake up with a smile.


Genesis Hunt - June 6, 2012

Hi Cathryn,
I don’t know if you recall me writting you a while back. You did a piece on my dad, The Alert Bay Trumpeter; I’ve been following the posts on your blog since then. Since then your posts have become one of the emails I look forward to, as I am subscribed to your feed.

A big thank you for all you’ve had to share and all you will be sharing in the future.


    admin - June 6, 2012

    Genesis, you have made my day – as your father did when he suddenly appeared and played his trumpet for the cruise ship. He gave me a shining memory. When you read the post and responded, you gave me another. And now you have given me yet another.

    My cup is running right over.


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