For many poor people in Asia, healthy hygiene is difficult to practice due to lack of access to proper soaps. So when Samir Lakhani, an American student, saw a mother in rural Cambodia washing her child with harsh detergent rather than soap, he was shocked. Detergents, which are known to contain toxic chemicals, can be incredibly harmful to children both when making contact with the skin and if accidentally ingested. While parents’ intentions in keeping their children clean and healthy are certainly good, their inability to acquire safe soap ends up putting their children at risk.
Rather than simply being shocked and moving on, Lakhani did something about it. He realized that hotels across Cambodia throw away incredible amounts of soap every day; often, bars have only been used once by travelers and still have the potential for several more useful washes. Lakhani began collecting this used soap and developed a way to recycle it into full bars. Those bars are then distributed to those in need, giving impoverished families across the country a healthier way to stay clean.
As an added bonus, Lakhani’s nonprofit has obtained sponsorships from local hotels, as well as funding from U.S. sources. This has enabled him to train and hire local Cambodians to produce the recycled soap, making him not only a health advocate, but a job creator.
Read the full story at the BBC.
Here’s what else we’re reading:
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Photo: Operation Stack
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