Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on March 13th, 2012

From Derreck Kayongo: Saving millions of lives with a piece of trash

Derreck and the organization he and his wife Sarah started are saving millions of lives in poverty stricken Africa by using soap U.S. hotels had been throwing in the trash. It is a remarkable story.

Derreck was a poor African refugee who with his family fled Idi Amin’s brutal Uganda in 1979 to live in Kenya, at first living in a refugee camp. Today he is a U.S. citizen. But when he traveled in the U.S. and stayed in hotels or motels, he discovered that when guests check out, the soap they used and left behind is thrown in the trash and buried in landfills.

Each year 800 million bars of soap in the U.S. become trash, yet because most poor African families can’t afford silverware they eat rice and other staples with their fingers. Because they also can’t afford soap to wash their hands, 2 million African children die agonizing deaths each year from diarrhea and respiratory diseases from the contamination on their fingers. Derreck went into action.

From having worked for Amnesty International, American Friends Service Committee and CARE International, Derreck knew what to do. He and Sarah started Global Soap Project; an Atlanta, Georgia based non-profit organization and began requesting local hotel and motel chains allow them to collect their wasted bars of soap. Once they got a yes, they would arrive in their family SUV to pick up that soap and bring it to their home basement where they and other volunteers would clean it and reprocess it and ship it to African refugee camps. This was the start of what is now a vast soap recycling program.

Today the Global Soap Project collects enormous amounts of used soap from all over the U.S., ships it to a processing center to sanitize it, melt it and reshape it into new bars of soap which are then distributed in Africa and in other poverty stricken areas of the world. For millions of children and their families, it is the gift of life, and it began because a compassionate man was determined to rescue them.

Success Tip of the Week: As Derreck did look around you and you may discover an opportunity to make a huge difference in the world. It doesn’t require a great education or big money, just a powerful idea and the determination to implement it.

Editor’s Notes: To see a 1 minute, 37 second video of Derreck on CNN Heroes 2011, please visit http://www.cnn.com/....soap/index.html. To see the Global Soap Project website, please visit http://www.globalsoap.org/. To see Derreck’s website, please visit http://derreckkayongo.com/

In the next KazanToday: A man who had the courage to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!
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