While working with a non-governmental organization called Trailblazer Cambodia Organization, Samir Lakhani, a college student, witnessed a mother washing her child in the river with laundry detergent. In poorer, rural areas, soap is a luxury that many people are unable to afford. They make do by using industrial cleaning agents to try and bathe, which can do more harm than good. They realize that using only water to wash doesn’t clean them well enough, but without soap, they are forced to use whatever is at hand.
After graduating from college, he knew that he needed to help. He developed a way to sanitize leftover soap from hotel rooms, and began to make a difference.
Hotels and guest houses throw away the soap leftover from a visit to keep each room sanitary and prevent guests from passing on germs, but all of that soap going to waste didn’t sit well with Lakhani. In a large city in Cambodia, Siem Reap, he began the organization called Eco-Soap Bank, which takes the leftover soap and sanitizes it.
The soap is chopped up and reassembled into neat bars that are distributed to families in need and sold as income to keep them going.
Eco-Soap Bank also sends out “hygiene ambassadors” who take bars of soap to schools in the area and teach students why it is important to wash their hands before every meal, and the proper way to wash and keep as clean as possible.
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