Why You Should Know Samir Lakhani
His nonprofit organization, Eco-Soap Bank, collects used soap bars from guesthouses in Cambodia, transforming waste into potentially life-saving sanitation products.
photo by sharon radisch for photographers without borders
Samir Lakhani: Founder & Executive Director
In the three years since he graduated from college, this self-proclaimed social entrepreneur has bubbled up his Cambodian soap-recycling company, Eco-Soap Bank. The nonprofit organization collects used soap bars from guesthouses in Cambodia, transforming waste into potentially life-saving sanitation products.
- After witnessing a village mother in northern Cambodia washing her child with harsh laundry detergent, Lakhani mobilized his soap bank.
- “This country lives on less than $1.50 per day,” says Lakhani. “This is what you think of when you say developing country. [It] is nearly 80 percent rural and impoverished.”
- To date, he has helped to introduce proper hygiene to about 650,000 people.
- Less than 1 in 3 Cambodians have access to latrines and handwashing facilities. According to UNICEF Cambodia, Lakhani has helped to prevent many hygiene-related deaths.
- Eco-Soap Bank now includes three locations, 30 employees and 230 participating hotels that help to reuse leftover product.
- “It’s definitely in the tea leaves for us to scale globally, but our first obligation is significantly turning around Cambodian hygiene,” Lakhani says. “Until then, we will take baby steps toward the global scale.”
For more info, go to ecosoapbank.com