Nearly two decades after he arrived in this country, Ugandan Derreck Kayongo is still bowled over by one subtle display of American wealth: the endless array of soaps available in stores.
In his African homeland, the cost of soap is out of reach for many, often with tragic consequences. In 2004, the World Health Organization found roughly 15 percent of deaths among Ugandan children under age 5 resulted from diarrheal diseases, many of which could be prevented through hand sanitation.
Now America's bountiful soap bars have prompted Kayongo to launch the Global Soap Project, an effort to help his country's poorest - one used bar of hotel soap at a time.
An Atlanta-based anti-poverty advocate, Kayongo has collected several tons of lightly used soap bars under a plan to melt them down, sterilize them and reshape the soap for shipment to refugees in Uganda to help curb disease.
For Uganda's destitute, soap is a luxury.
"Most people find it very hard to spend money on something like soap which could actually help them prevent diseases," Kayongo said. A bar of soap can run 500 Ugandan shillings - about 10 American cents - on a continent where many refugees have a dollar to live on daily.
Cleaning up with used soap sounds, well, dirty.
But Kayongo said soaps will be separated by hotel brand and gently washed to remove makeup and other surface dirt. Next, bars will go into a high-temperature oven where they will melt and transform into a soapy, sterile, slurry. Kayongo said the mixture will go into molds to harden and emerge as large bars of soap. External source: To read complete article ‘Click Here'