What is your cause and how will it make the world kinder?
India has the highest number of child deaths in the world (1.2 million deaths in 2015). 1 out of 4 were caused by pneumonia or diarrhea due to lack of sanitation (UNICEF, 2016). About 70 million people still don’t have access to soap in India (Unilever). Meanwhile, gently used bar soaps are being thrown away by hotels. Our Sundara team collects those bars of soap from hotels and recycles them into sanitized new bars of soap to be distributed to schools within communities in need (slums, tribal villages, refugee camps, etc.). We provide hand washing and hygiene education sessions during soap distributions. To date, we’ve rescued 26,000 kg of soap waste from landfills – but more importantly we’ve brought soap to those who couldn’t afford it.
How will you use the $10k?
We are currently recycling and distributing soap in Kalwa slums and Ashte village (near Mumbai). This year alone, we've produced and distributed 90,000 bars of soap within Kalwa and Ashte and to surrounding communities. We would like to expand our reach to 10,000 more children and 70 more schools across the Dahanu region. It costs $32 per school per month to provide 35 bars of recycled soap and one hand washing and hygiene education session. $10,000 would cover 312 hand washing and hygiene education sessions with soap distributions. That means that each of the 70 new schools we would expand to would receive four education sessions.
What impact do you hope to make?
We hope to improve the health of 10,000 children of the Dahanu region and their families by providing them with soap. Last year, in India, 296,300 young children died of diarrhea and pneumonia (UNICEF). Handwashing with soap prevents the risk of diarrhea in 1 out of every 3 young children and the risk of pneumonia in 1 out of 5 young children (CDC). Due to extreme poverty and high rates of illiteracy, the people of the Dahanu tribal region have limited access to soap and limited knowledge on health and sanitation. We also hope to improve school attendance, as we offer a bar of soap to take home to his/her family to each child who has over 80% attendance for the month.