A Pitt student has created the Eco-Soap Bank for Cambodia, which collects leftover pieces to transform hygiene in rural villages
By Don Hopey / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – April 12, 2015: Sometimes a good idea can bubble up from something as small as a hotel room bar of soap.
That’s what happened when Samir Lakhani, a senior environmental studies major at the University of Pittsburgh, went to Cambodia last summer to build ponds for a commercial fish-raising project in rural villages and stumbled onto what could be a solution to that Southeast Asian nation’s historic and deadly hygiene problem.
“I saw mothers bathing babies in laundry detergent and doing dishes, pots and pans, in the powdered detergent too. It’s not the right kind of soap and it’s a horrifying sight,” said Mr. Lakhani, 22, who grew up in Allentown, Lehigh County. “It’s a rural culture that defecates openly and has no history of handwashing.”
One out of eight Cambodian children die from a preventable disease before they reach the age of 5, according to a United Nations study.
Eco Soap Bank: www.ecosoapbank.org
Eco-Soap Bank is a humanitarian non-profit organization working to save, sanitize, and supply recycled soap to rural village families in Cambodia and West Africa. Donate here: ecosoapbank.dntly.com