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Girl Scouts Learn About the Importance of Hand Hygiene on Global Handwashing Day

dscf9517On Saturday, Oct. 15, we observed Global Handwashing Day by hosting a group of Girl Scouts at our Orlando facility for activities that were both educational and life-changing. Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective way to prevent diseases.

Clean the World is packaging 3,000 hygiene kits for U.S. residents affected by Hurricane Matthew using items donated by United Airlines. The repurposed items come from the airline’s international premium cabin amenity kits and help us fill a critical need for at-risk people. The Girl Scouts were a huge help as they assembled hundreds of the kits during their visit.

Scouts who weren’t working on the hygiene kit assembly line helped prepare damaged and empty shampoo bottles for recycling.

The girls also took part in a hand washing activity, during which they learned the importance of washing for 20 seconds before eating, and after using the restroom, coughing, sneezing, or shaking hands. They rubbed glitter on their hands to represent germs, and took turns washing to get rid of the “glitter germs.”

The scouts drew pictures of their hands before and after hand washing, and worked on designs for a special Clean the World Girl Scout badge. And to encourage those whose lives were disrupted by the hurricane, the girls wrote greeting cards for affected people in Haiti, the Bahamas, and Southeastern U.S. coastal areas.

Shipments of Clean the World Soap Help Hurricane Matthew Victims

UPDATED ON WEDNESDAY, OCT. 19

Late last week, we announced that recycled soap had shipped from Clean the World facilities in Orlando and Las Vegas to the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Matthew. Now we are pleased to follow up with news about where those shipments are:

Haiti: More than 191,000 bars of soap have been shipped to Haiti and are being distributed to the hardest-hit areas in the country’s southern region. This includes over 21,000 soap bars being handed out in partnership with Direct Relief and 167,000 with My Neighbor’s Children. We expect to deliver another full container of soap to Haiti this week. The next shipment may contain up to a quarter million bars of soap.
The Bahamas: More than 41,000 soap bars arrived in The Bahamas on Sunday and are being distributed to the affected areas in partnership with the Salvation Army and a network of other aid groups.
 United States: We expect to deliver at least 3,000 hygiene kits this week to some of the locally affected areas as well in to the northeast coast of Florida, and the Carolinas.

These hygiene items will make a big difference as governments and residents struggle with the aftermath of the storm, and as cholera begins to spread again in Haiti. We will continue to send additional shipments in the coming weeks to meet the ongoing demand.

Our volunteer support has been tremendous, and we’re deeply grateful to everyone who helped make the efforts such a huge success. Although the urgent need for volunteers is waning, we still need financial support to help fund the shipping and distribution of the soap.

As Hurricane Matthew lashed at southern Haiti on Tuesday, Oct. 4, Clean the World was already making plans to ramp up soap production and packing. Standing water and poor hygiene are a recipe for the spread of bacterial diseases. So based on our experience in the island nation and what we heard from the global hygiene community, we were relatively certain there would be a cholera outbreak after the storm passed.

Even as Central Florida residents prepared for Matthew to pass near or across the Sunshine State, local volunteers began streaming into our Orlando facility. Our goal was to ship 400,000 soap bars to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and coastal areas of the Southeastern United States.

A week later, on Thursday, Oct. 13, we passed our goal and were closing in on a half-million soap bars packed and ready for shipment. We closed the week at 550,000 bars packed.

We were amazed by how fast that happened. Big thanks to the nearly 600 Orlando-area volunteers who showed up that first week. We also want to recognize our Clean the World team members who kept the production line running, the forklift moving, and the volunteers busy during those long 16-hour days.

But we aren’t finished yet! Clean the World still needs your financial support and volunteer help. Watch this blog, our Facebook page, and e-mail updates for more information on volunteer opportunities and fundraising programs.

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Packed up and ready to depart Clean the World’s loading dock. This truckload of soap was destined for Port Tampa Bay, and then on to Haiti.
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Central Florida volunteers packed these 30,000 soap bars, which were bound for the Bahamas.
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Departing for Fort Lauderdale, and then the Bahamas.
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Once our truck arrived in Fort Lauderdale, the soap was loaded into a shipping container with other relief supplies before setting sail for the Bahamas.

 

Girl Scouts Bring Hope to Swaziland through Soap

Sisters Taylor and Samantha Lane of Fairfax County, Virginia, visited the African country of Swaziland this summer on a hygiene mission.

As part of Samantha’s Girl Scout Gold Award project last year, both sisters traveled with Clean the World to the Dominican Republic to help distribute soap and teach the importance of hand-washing and good dental hygiene to over 1,500 kids in disadvantaged communities. During that visit, the sisters learned how a little idea could grow into something big. As they said on a recent call with Clean the World, “It is a big world with lots to fix, but if we take a small chunk, we can make a difference. Don’t be afraid to start small; it can compound infinitely.”

Here in their words is the story of the Lane sisters’ recent trip to Swaziland. They volunteered at Project Canaan, a land-development project supported by the UPS Foundation.


By Taylor and Samantha Lane

IMG_0622Our goal for volunteering in Swaziland was to bring all we learned with Clean the World in the Dominican Republic in 2015 to a new part of the world. After that life-changing experience, neither one of us wanted to stop spreading the word about the importance of hygiene.

In Swaziland, our mission was to bring Clean the World’s message of “hope through soap” as part of our effort to advance United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 3, which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Swaziland is a country that faces many challenges. The country has the highest HIV rate in the world, leaving many children HIV positive and orphaned because their parents die from the virus.

Swaziland also has the highest rate of Tuberculosis in the world. The combination of being co-infected with TB and HIV, as is common in Swaziland, leaves people at a high risk of mortality. Providing basic education on the importance of hygiene, including hand washing, can help prevent the spread of disease.

Knowing that, we traveled to Swaziland to help provide this type of education. Through community outreach, we taught Swazis about the importance of hygiene. Swaziland, like several other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, is also grappling with one of the worst droughts in history. Consequently, many Swazis have been unable to farm to sustain themselves. Hunger is a very real problem in communities across Swaziland, with 69 percent of the population living below the poverty line and most depending on international food programs to survive. Because good nutrition is essential to good health, we also went out into various communities to provide and Clean the World hygiene kits.

Women and girls do not have equal rights under the law in Swaziland and are therefore often hardest hit in terms of their access to food and medicine. Our whole experience in Swaziland was eye-opening regarding the suffering that exists and the basic inequalities that make life even harder for women and girls. That said, we both came away empowered in that we were able to engage, albeit in little ways when compared to the magnitude of the problems, to try to show that girls like us can help change the world for the better.

Clean the World was our inspiration for spreading the word about the power of soap to bring hope.

Taylor Lane graduated from George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Virginia, this June and is headed to Dartmouth College this fall. Samantha Lane is a junior at James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia.

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