Combating poverty one bar of soap at a time [video]

Two men with a small group of children, holding hands out over a bucket (© Bernat Parera)
SoapBox’s David Simnick (left) and Jason Rosen (right) practicing proper hand-washing with children at a Sundara soap recycling shop in India (© Bernat Parera)

Want to make the world a better place? Why not start with a simple bar of soap that you give away in places where people cannot afford to purchase it?

That’s the premise of SoapBox Soaps, an Alexandria, Virginia, company that Dave Simnick co-founded seven years ago. Its soaps and shampoos can be found on store shelves across the United States. For every bar it sells, SoapBox gives a free bar of soap to people in need in Africa and elsewhere.

Two children washing hands using soap and water from a red pitcher (© Dionna Fry and Jeremy Keenan)
Soapbox has partnered with the Proctor Foundation and The Carter Center on a study in Ethiopia on how water sanitation and hygiene education can help reduce trachoma eye infections. (© Dionna Fry and Jeremy Keenan)

It doesn’t ship the product overseas, but buys from local suppliers such as Sundara, a nonprofit that hires women in slums in India to collect used soap from hotels, process it and recycle it into bars it gives to poor families. (Sundara is a Sanskrit word for beautiful.)

”Don’t just think about what your customers need. Think about what the world needs,” says Simnick. Learn more about SoapBox’s one-for-one business model in this video.