Sundara Fund: Attacking Hygiene Inequality Through Innovative Hand-Washing | Source: Browngirl Magazine, July 8 2016 |The impetus for launching Sundara was born back in 2013 when founder Erin Zaikis was working with organizations and schools fighting child trafficking in rural northern Thailand, on the border of Myanmar. During one school visit, she watched as teenage children entered and left the restroom without washing their hands.
Making the several-hour trek to the closest store that sold soap, she bought roughly 150 bars costing $30. “Cigarettes were much more expensive, but cigarettes were bought by almost everyone in the community…The problem did not lie in the cost of soap, but rather the education,” Zaikis says.
While conducting an impromptu hand-washing workshop at a school one day, she “watched in horror” as one child tried to bite the soap, some scratching it with their nails, and yet others smacking their faces with it—unsure of what to do.
Zaikis says, “Here I was, meeting children who had lived their whole lives without something I took for granted every single day of mine. Reeling from the inequality of this situation and feeling like no one else was putting attention on it, I decided I had to help.”
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