Derreck Kayongo: The Global Soap Project

– Jordan Osborne (Defiance, OH)

Service is a gift that is paid for by compassion and love. Some people are lucky enough to grow up prominently while others struggle to have basic needs. The most heart-warming presentations of compassion come from those who faced adversity and made something of their hardships.

Meet Derreck Kayongo: He was born in Uganda and later fled the country with his parents to escape due to the mass killings and torture occurring in the country. He then transitioned from being a refugee, to a college graduate, and then a United States citizen. 

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of
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During his first stay in a hotel he realized, every day, partially used soap was replaced with brand new bars. Knowing he was getting new soap every day, he feared being charged. When he attempted to return the new soap to the concierge he was informed that the soap was included in his bill. He asked what happened to the slightly used bars, and he was told that they were thrown out. This astounded him. He called his father from Uganda in disbelief and told him about the barely used bars of soap.

With this experience and the support from his family, friends, and wife, the Global Soap Project was born. The Global Soap Project focuses on a deadly problem in impoverished countries: child mortality. Every year, 2 million children die due to diarrheal illness. The main issue is that soap is too expensive to buy for these impoverished families. Soap is the first line of defense in the battle against child mortality. When members of these families fall sick due to the dirtiness of their hands, they cannot afford to go to the hospital. 1.4 million deaths can be prevented per year by merely washing hands with soap.

How does The Global Soap Project work? First, bars of partially used soap are taken to the warehouse where volunteers help to prepare soap for reprocessing. The bars are then sanitized, heated at high temperatures, cooled, and then cut into bars. The soap is then inspected for pathogens and deemed safe. The bars are then shipped and distributed for free to those who need it. So far, The Global Soap Project has distributed over 100,000 bars of soap.

In 2011, Derreck Kayongo was named one of the Top 10 CNN hero due to his work with The Global Soap Project. He travels the United States and gives speeches on service and what it means to serve those who need help.\

Service is important to help bring a better tomorrow. With some help, human suffering can decrease and those who need help will live more prosperously. Defiance College has four pillars, and “To Serve” is to appreciate the knowledge gained through higher education, and giving back and helping those who are less-fortunate. Derrick Kayongo has given the perfect example of how to serve and give back using the knowledge he gained when he moved to the United States. He shows what compassion and love can do to improve the lives of many.

There are many ways to get involved with The Global Soap Project. You can visit the website at Financial donations are always accepted, volunteers are always needed, host a party to raise money, or shop on Amazon and help the Global Soap Project at no cost to you!

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