The Power of Change

Eco-Soap Bank: The Power of Change
The Power of Change is a global fundraising initiative whereby schools, organizations, and individuals can collect spare change and donate it to Eco-Soap Bank to help save lives in the developing world. Here's how it works:

Q & A

Eco-Soap Bank is a global public health nonprofit whose aim is to reduce the incidence of preventable illness in the developing world. We do this by recycling used hotel soap and distributing the new, sanitized soap to schools, orphanages, and hospitals in need.

Samir Lakhani founded Eco-Soap Bank in 2014, after learning about the high mortality rates in Cambodia combined with the lack of soap in the region. Since its inception, Eco-Soap Bank has served more than 700,000 people across eight countries and recycled more than 93,000 pounds of soap. In 2017, Samir was awarded a CNN Heroes Award for his groundbreaking work. In 2018, he was named a Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Award winner.

Proper handwashing is one of the most effective ways to reduce the transmission of harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, soap is in short supply in the developing world. In fact, more than 1.5 million children under five die every year due to transmissible yet preventable illnesses like diarrhea and respiratory infections. We at Eco-Soap Bank want to change those numbers. We want to reduce these high mortality rates and increase personal health and economic well-being for children and their families.

Recycling used hotel soap not only diverts thousands of pounds of waste annually from landfills, it gives Eco-Soap Bank the chance to employ disadvantaged women who need a reliable source of income. Beyond distributing soap, Eco-Soap Bank provides training to local school students, so that they can learn about the long-term health benefits of handwashing.

The Power of Change is Eco-Soap Bank’s global fundraising initiative whereby schools, individuals, and organizations can collect spare change, donate it to Eco-Soap Bank, and, in doing so, join the effort to change lives. All donations are 100% tax deductible in the United States.

Absolutely! It costs Eco-Soap Bank only 10 cents to provide a bar of life-saving soap to a child. A donation of $25 in coins will provide soap and handwashing training to 250 people.

The best first place to look for spare change is in your very own home. Estimates suggest that there are billions of ‘forgotten’ coins in the United States. These coins are languishing in our junk drawers, car cup holders, between sofa cushions and even in our long-lost piggy banks. After rounding up your coins, ask your friends, family, and neighbors if they have coins too. If you’re keen to involve more people, you could organize a community fundraising event!

Since it would be incredibly expensive (and too tempting for thieves) to send the coins directly to us, the best way to donate the proceeds is to convert the coins into cash or a check. You can either:

  • Take your coins to a coin-counting kiosk (like the kind found at your local supermarket). After converting the coins to cash, either send us a check or donate the amount via credit card on our Donate page.

  • Bring the coins to your local bank, and ask them for a cashier's check. Send your check to Eco-Soap Bank at 1800 Murray Ave, PO Box 81188, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Make sure you tell us your donation is part of The Power of Change!

All participants will receive a personal 'thank you' note from someone in the developing world and a certificate of appreciation from Eco-Soap Bank.

Schools raising more than $1,000 will get a Skype call with Eco-Soap Bank's founder, Samir Lakhani, and anyone (school, individual, or organization) raising more than $10,000 will get their name on a plaque at one of Eco-Soap Bank's sixteen branches.

There are so many wonderful ways to bring people together for this empowering cause. You could:

  • Organize a walkathon for yourself, your family, and/or your community where sponsors pay you in coins for each mile.
  • Organize a bake sale asking folks to donate whatever they can in exchange for goodies.
  • Organize a used book sale where buyers can pay for books with coins.
  • Host a trivia night where guests are asked to contribute change in order to participate.
  • Organize a car wash where people pay in coins for each car washed.
  • Host a dinner party asking guests to contribute coins instead of food.

The ideas are endless! You could also:

  • Ask a local restaurant, café, or coffee shop if you can place a collection jar near their cash register.
  • Place a collection jar on your desk at work and ask your colleagues to donate whenever they can.

There are lots of fun ways you can encourage your students to become global fundraising humanitarians. You could:

  • Organize a penny war where the class who collects the most pennies wins a prize.
  • Organize a bingo night where students are asked to bring coins in exchange for a card to play.
  • Organize a readathon where students collect coins for every book they read.
  • Organize a principal punishment. If students raise a certain amount, they get to "punish" their principal. Punishments could be silly things like having to wear a crazy wig or becoming a student for the day.
  • Organize a teacher in jail event where the class who raises the most gets to put their teacher in "jail." Jail could be spending an hour in the principal's office or stuck in their classroom grading tests.
  • Organize a used library book sale asking students and their families to buy old library books with their spare change.

You could also:

  • Put a collection jar on the front desk in the school office.