The Global Soap Project began with Derreck and Sarah Kayongo in 2009. They no longer lead the organization’s efforts, but they are delighted with the progress we’ve made and the positive impact on global health that’s been created. Their heartwarming story continues to inspire all of us. Here’s a quick glance at how we started:
From Africa to Atlanta with nothing but a dream and tenacity, Derreck Kayongo beat the odds, earned an education, and has served in leadership roles in some of the world’s most respected NGOs since 1994. In 2009, he met Vicki Gordon, a veteran hospitality executive, and shared his idea – what if we took the discarded soap from your hotels and turned it into new bars? Derreck recalled his time visting refugee camps – where families were vulnerable to disease simply because they had no soap. Vicki, who became one of the founding board members of the Global Soap Project, started making calls and assembling a team to support this mission.
Meanwhile, Derreck and his wife Sarah were anxious to get started. They began to enroll local Atlanta hotels and spent their weekends collecting soap and experimenting with various soap making techniques in their basement. Sarah brought her own wealth of expertise to the Global Soap Project and helped it successfully get off the ground. It was a challenging beginning, but their hard work paid off.
Since those early days, the Global Soap Project has expanded to become a leading global health organization. Sam Stephens took the helm as Executive Director & CEO at the start of 2012, multiplying the size of our organization and leading our growth from a small start-up to a strategic leader with a global footprint.
In early 2015, Global Soap joined forces with Clean The World. The actual soap recycling is now done by Clean The World, while Global Soap is in charge of all soap distribution and global health programming, serving millions of people around the world each year.