GPM is working with Sundara Soap on a new hygiene initiative with the women in the slums that advances health, environmental sustainability and women's empowerment. The soap recycling idea comes from Sundara founder Erin Zaikis, who decided to take action upon learning that over one million children die every year from diseases resulting to poor hygiene.
The Sundara company has hired ten women and men of the Kalwa slum to work on a soap recycling project. A portion of the soap that is produced will be given to children in slums and rural villages as part of a hygiene education program to children. The rest of the soap that is produced will be sold at heavily subsidized rates within the slum, and proceeds will go directly back to support hygiene education in the slums. Earlier this year, GPM partnered with a cohort of GPM volunteers and Sundara to launch the H.E.A.L Hygiene Education initiative that teaches the children the basics of hygiene, and provides soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste to all the children.
"This project is such a win-win," says GPM Founding Director Jacob Sztokman. "Everyone benefits -- the women who are working in a sustainable income generating enterprise; the men, women and children in the slums who receive better hygiene and health; and the environment as a whole by reducing waste in overcrowded landfills. 'Win-wins' are our favorite way to operate!"
According Zaikis, "Sundara" -- a word which means "beautiful" in Sanskrit -- is all about advancing hygiene and health around the world. "We believe that doing good is beautiful," she says. "Personal hygiene is not a privilege but a right. Preventable deaths caused by poor hygiene can be a thing of the past."