In a logistical feat of global good, Eco-Soap Bank has distributed more than 1.5 million bars of recycled soap to 13 countries in Asia and Africa as part of a sweeping effort to halt the transmission of COVID-19.
Funds for the soap’s transport are provided by the Frontline Responders Fund, a GoFundMe created by Flexport.org to mobilize critical supplies to COVID-19 frontline responders around the world.
A lack of soap remains a critical factor in the fight against preventable disease. That’s where Eco-Soap Bank comes in. The non-profit recycles and redistributes soap to hospitals, clinics, schools, orphanages, and villages.
As COVID-19 has progressed, the CDC has recommended frequent, thorough hand-washing as one of its primary methods of stalling the spread of the disease.
Now, Eco-Soap Bank’s efforts help millions of people protect their health by providing access to essential hygiene, like handwashing with soap, while also reducing environmental waste and providing jobs to women in need.
Disease prevention becomes even more vital when limited infrastructure raises the stakes for those who fall ill or social conditions compound infection rates.
Eco-Soap Bank donates soap to parts of the world where barriers to simple, preventive hygiene are at their most perilous.
For instance, Sierra Leone has 8 million people and one ventilator. Many neighboring nations have none. In the small country at the shoreline of West Africa, Eco-Soap Bank has donated 250,000 bars of soap to district clinics, NGOs, Ebola victim orphanages, and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
In Bangladesh, one million refugees crush into shanties at the Kutupalong Rohingya Refugee Camp. Social distancing is impossible. With its award from the Frontline Responders Fund, Eco-Soap Bank has 5,000 bars of soap in the pipeline to distribute and plans to deliver more.
The non-profit has distributed soap to every single healthcare institution in Cambodia, including government health clinics, hospitals, and quarantine facilities. Working with public and NGO partners, the organization has trained 175 volunteers in hand-washing demonstrations there, reaching nearly 15,000 people living in villages.
“We are moving 3 million bars of soap to the most vulnerable in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where public health is unable to handle the possibility of rising cases,” explains Samir Lakhani, Chief Eco-Soap Officer. ”Prevention has become key.”
Eco-Soap Bank extends the impact of its healthcare work by blending the concept of recycling with meaningful job creation.
The organization currently employs 154 women as Eco-Soapmakers who serve a critical role in the supply chain by retrieving soap from hotels, guesthouses, and manufacturers, then sanitizing and transforming it into a life-saving resource.
While the battle to mitigate COVID-19 drives much of Eco-Soap Bank’s actions today, its overall impact improves hygiene, environment, and economics through the use of efficient logistics locally and worldwide. For the communities it serves, lather is the best medicine.
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