The Global Soap Project


Global Soap Project
Scott Christian, via Flickr

Soap is an important tool to fight disease. But for many people, it costs too much money. Ryan Geertsma and Robin Basselin look at one project to meet this need.

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Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Ryan Geertsma.

Voice 2

And I’m Robin Basselin. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

As a young boy, Derreck Kayongo was a refugee in Kenya. He lived in terrible conditions. Derreck remembers one thing in particular - he did not have soap to wash his hands. Derreck saw how this lack of soap affected the people around him. The bacteria from human waste or other things they touched travelled on their hands. They did not have soap to kill the bacteria – they only had water to wash. So, bacteria from their hands entered into their bodies. And often this made them very sick. Now Derreck is able to wash his hands with soap many times each day. But he has not forgotten his life as a refugee. Today’s Spotlight is on Derreck Kayongo and his work to give soap to refugees around the world.

Voice 2

As a child, Derreck Kayongo lived in Uganda. His father worked two jobs. One of these jobs was making soap. Life for Derreck’s family was very good. But in the 1970s Idi Amin became president of the country. He ruled with oppressive power. Other political groups fought against his government. The country was not safe. So in 1979 Derreck’s family left the country. They became refugees in Kenya. Derreck described his experience in a short film on Fox News.

Voice 3

“When you run as a refugee, you do not prepare yourself. You do not say, ‘we are going to go for a trip’. No, you are being kicked out. So you run and you leave everything behind. No toilets, no sinks. So the conditions are just horrible.”

Voice 1

Derreck lived as a refugee for many years. Then, in the 1990s, a religious worker helped Derreck travel to the United States. He arrived in the city of Philadelphia. There he stayed in a hotel. This hotel put three bars of soap in every room. When Derreck found this soap, he was very excited. This was so different than his experience as a refugee. Derreck explained this difference to the CNN news organization.

Voice 3

“You awake every morning thinking, ‘We just want to survive.’ Cleaning yourself to prevent disease is not a main concern.”

Voice 2

Derreck was pleased to have soap. He used one bar of soap that day. He put the other two bars of soap into his bag for later. The next day, Derreck went into the bathroom. Next to the sink, there were three new bars of soap! He wondered what happened to the bar of soap he had already begun to use. He looked for it and could not find it. He became concerned. What if the hotel charged him for the missing bars of soap?

Voice 1

So Derreck gathered the two bars of soap from his bag. He also gathered the three new bars of soap. He went to talk with a hotel worker. He explained that he had taken two bars of soap. He told the hotel worker he wanted to return the soap he had taken.

Voice 2

But the hotel worker told Derreck that he did not steal the soap! He told him the hotel put new bars of soap in each room every day! Then Derreck asked what happened to the bar of soap that he had been using. The hotel worker informed him that all of the once used bars of soap were considered waste or garbage.

Voice 1

Derreck thought about his life as a refugee. For refugees, soap was very valuable. They knew its power to fight disease. But it simply cost too much. Derreck told CNN,

Voice 3

"The issue is not whether there is enough soap in Uganda. The issue is cost. Most people in Uganda earn $1 a day. Soap costs 25 cents. I am not an expert in mathematics. But I am telling you that I am not going to spend that 25 cents on a bar of soap. I am going to buy sugar. I am going to buy medicine. I am going to do all the things I think are keeping me alive.”

Voice 2

Derreck’s experience at the hotel gave him an idea. He did some research. He discovered that there are about 4.6 million hotel rooms in the United States. And most were throwing away used bars of soap every day. This research made him wonder about another idea. He explained to Fox News what he was thinking.

Voice 3

“What if we collect those bars of soap? We can turn them into fresh new bars of soap. Then we can bring them home to Uganda. Why do we not do that?”

Voice 1

So in 2009, Derreck started the Global Soap Project. He asked a few local hotels to save used soap instead of throwing it away as garbage. Then he collected it from them. Soon, more hotels agreed to save their used soap for Derreck. Today, the Global Soap Project receives soap from over 300 hotels in the United States.

Voice 2

Volunteers work for the Global Soap Project for free. These volunteers inspect each bar of soap. They cut a thin outer layer off of the soap. Then they melt the remaining soap. The melted soap passes through a filter. This removes any dirt or particles that cannot be seen. Then the volunteers heat the soap again and let it get hard. Finally, they cut new bars of soap.

Voice 1

A laboratory tests the soap when it is finished. These tests make sure the new soap does not contain any bacteria. If the test results are good, the soap is ready!

Voice 2

The Global Soap Project is a not-for-profit organization. People give money to the organization to pay for the soap making process. This way, the Global Soap Project can give the soap to people who need it most - for free! The Global Soap Project works with many other not for profit organizations. These organizations help bring the new soap to refugees in other countries.

Voice 1

In 2011, CNN honored Derreck. They reported that since the Global Soap Project began, it has made more than 100,000 new bars of soap. And it has given this new soap to people in nine different countries. Even with this great work, Derreck told CNN he hopes for more.

Voice 3

“I hope one day to become an expert soap making operation. I want to be a soap company where people who are in crisis can come. And we can give them soap. I do not want to ever see a child without soap. I want to put a bar of soap in every child’s hand that does not have money for it. That is my goal.”

Voice 1

The writer of this program was Courtney Schutt. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can find our programs on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called “The Global Soap Project”.

Voice 2

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Question:

Where do you get soap from? Do you have enough soap?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Simeon D.
said on September 26, 2011

This is an amazing history which tell us how we can change the world helping poor people with simple idea. God through Jesus Christ always give us the correct way to change all kinds of problems in our life. (Simeon - Brazil)

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vanha
said on September 26, 2011

“The Global Soap Project” Very good !That would be great.I suppose so .Thank you very much !

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alegría
said on September 26, 2011

When one person passed for a lack or need, in this moment this same person tries to help another people. In this case Derreck knows the real situation as a refugee because he had felt. The human mind simply is wonderful. Paulo Coelho said: “Follow your dreams, transform your life” It is better if your dreams is help poor people!!

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Mr.Winthant
said on September 27, 2011

This is a great project for people who are in crisis. We don’t know what happened in the world that so many people face terrible conditions. So, i appreciate this project. After that,the project will try to encourage to refugees when they face any problem in the future,i hope. Thank for sharing !

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Narath
said on October 02, 2011

I find there are many rich people around the world and sometime they don’t know what to do with their money for the right places and the right people so if those people recognize The Global Soap Project they must become donors of that project . 
In my country for the people who are living at the remote areas they use ashes to wash their hands with water instead of using soap . Ashes are able to kill the bacteria . I do hope people will know The Global Soap Project more than this through Spotlight and also through the over 300 hotels in the United State . ( Cambodia )

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thanhdung07121985@gmail.com
said on October 30, 2012

I really appreciate Derreck Kayongo so much.His project shows his love and concern for other people especially poor people.
I hope The Global Soap Project will be extended all over the world and his dream will become the true.

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Honneur
said on July 06, 2018

My maternal grandmother separated the ashes from her stove to make a brown liquid to which she added the bite of the pigs my grandfather killed for family consumption. Then she put this mixture to cook for two or three days, until it became a black substance. This substance was manipulated and transformed into balls, which were put to dry in the shade. This was the soap used to wash clothes, kitchen utensils, and even the bathroom.