Over the past few months, Clean the World’s primary focus in the Philippines has been on sending hygiene kits to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. However, there are significant hygiene needs in other areas of the island country.
Last week we made progress in the capital city of Manila when we traveled there on a soap distribution trip with team members from Caesars Entertainment.
Geoff Gilbert, our director of digital media, said it was amazing to see what a bar of soap can do for someone.
“We distributed one project hygiene kits in a neighborhood of people displaced by a horrible volcano eruption,” Gilbert said. The children loved the kits, and by the end of the distribution we had a lot of the neighborhood out there with us to see what was going on.”
He said some people hid the soap and said they only use it for special occasions. Some kids just smelled it and smiled. Others loved seeing the Americans, giving high-fives, fist-bumps, waves, hugs, and lots of smiles.
In an example of how gracious and hospitable the Filipino people were, Gilbert shared a story from the team’s visit to a center that provides meals for some malnourished children.
“We went in to visit them while they were eating, and one of the Caesars employees bent down to chat with one of the kids. The child immediately started to move some food over to the side of his plate to share with his new friend from Caesars. It was a very precious moment.”
Our contingent included Jessica Rossman, the director of supplier diversity and sustainability for Caesars. Rossman said trips like this have the power to change everyone involved. “The goodness and desire to do well here makes me want to become a better person,” she said.
The common thread with everyone who visited Manila last week is that soap can make such a huge difference in people’s lives.
“These kids had me beaming all day,” said Jennifer Jordan, founder of a Las Vegas upcycling company called BluMarble. “Three visits today to schools teaching them that soap saves lives and how to wash their hands. Such a little thing – such a big impact.”