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Derrek Kayongo – Global Soap Project

Last night a group of my friends and I met up at McCrady’s restaurant for a “going away” dinner for our friend Tanesha. (That will be another post!) We were all sitting at a table together near a big window that looked out onto Unity Alley. There was this dapper gentleman, hanging out with a cigar, right next to the window. We ALL thought, “okay, someone must be out there photographing this fellow because he looks like a model, and he is certainly NOT dressed in typical Charleston attire.” Curiosity got the best of me and I went out to talk to him…. He was not being photographed, but was standing alone, just relaxing and admiring some of downtown Charleston. My friend Tanesha joined me and we chatted with him for a bit. In his cool british accent, he tells us he lives in Atlanta, GA and owns a soap company. I got his info and just looked it up:

The “about” page says:

The Global Soap Project collects used soap from hotels, reprocesses it into new bars, and distributes the new soap to vulnerable populations around the world to save lives and improve global health. We’re currently working with more than 800 hotels, and have shipped soap to 22 countries worldwide.

An estimated 3.5 million children die every year from hygiene and sanitation related illnesses like diarrhea and pneumonia, which can be prevented through improved hygiene and sanitation. At the same time, an estimated 2.6-million soap bars are discarded every day in the United States alone. By recycling this discarded soap, the Global Soap Project is reducing environmental waste and working to save lives.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the Global Soap Project was founded in 2009 by Derreck and Sarah Kayongo. Derreck is a humanitarian relief expert whose own family fled Uganda and the tyranny of Idi Amin in 1979. During this tragic and despotic era, close to one million people lost their lives. Many, like Derreck, were displaced in refugee camps. Today, millions of people around the world still live in compromised environments, with limited or no access to clean water and soap.

What a story this guy has! Most who know me I am in constant search of God’s purpose for my life, so meeting people have taken horrible situations and turned them into something amazing, make my heart melt!

I did not have my pro camera on me (KNEW I should have brought it!), so this iphone picture will have to do. Meet my new friend!  Derrek, thank you for taking the time to talk to us, letting me take your photo, and doing something amazing for others. You are an inspiration! 🙂

(See a little news-clip here:


  • Mat Jones - Great story and a great cause! …and cooooool outfit.

  • tanesha - Ok I thought he was cool last night but this guy is AMAZING!!! GO DERRICK my newest most dapper friend!!!

  • Diane Scher - Hi Juliet: This gentleman and his recycled soap company was featured on CNN. He was nominated as a CNN Hero, and they showed a video of him and his work. Amazing guy. Very famous, actually, known around the world as a result of the CNN news coverage.

    Yes, what a guy…and his philosophy at work is a wonderful contribution to the world’s deprived populations.

    That was luck meeting him at McCrady’s. He is quite a role model and special, classy guy, for sure.

    Wishing you the best–still visiting the cat house, Pet Helpers, on a regular basis. Can’t stop loving ’em.

    Diane Scher

  • Jack - Great article about my friend Derreck. I found your article through his Facebook thanks. Amazing guy huh?