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Derreck Kayongo Set To Promote His Life-Saving Ideology at Upcoming TEDxCharleston Event
3/19/2014 2:35:08 PM

Derreck Kayongo. Photo by Fia Forever photography
By Damion Smalls

On Tuesday April 8, Derreck Kayongo will be one of twenty speakers at the 2014 TEDxCharleston Conference held at the Memminger Auditorium. The theme of the event is “Ripple Effect”.

Kayongo, a former child refugee from Uganda, is the founder of the Global Soap Project (GSP). GSP is a non-profit organization formed in 2009 that takes partially-used soap from hotels and repurposes it. The recycled soap is then distributed to disadvantaged parts of the world to be used to restrain the spread of bacteria and prevent illness.

The efforts of Kayongo have not gone unnoticed as he was a recipient of a CNN Hero award in 2011. Now living in Atlanta, he instituted a soap-making factory there and in Hong Kong. Kayongo hopes to expand into the Las Vegas market soon to take advantage of the multitude of hotels in the area.

GSP provided one million bars of soap to those in need in the past year and plans to supply two million in 2014. Kayongo’s interest in his father’s career as a soap maker established his idea for the company, as well as information he learned from a concierge about the unbelievable amount of wasted soap in the hotel industry. They work thousands of hotels around the world, including several in South Carolina.

Coming from such humble conditions as a youngster has driven Kayongo in his role as a catalyst for social change. He was 20 years old when he first came to the United States and has become a college graduate in his time here. For all of the adversity he has had to endure, his simple message of “never take things for granted” is powerful and evocative.

Though not a braggart, Kayongo says of himself that he is not the type of person that just sits back when things are bad. He actively enjoys taking action to making situations better and encouraging the people to do the same. He champions the notion that people should not be victims, but be part of the solution.

Kayongo desires to communicate a new way forward at TEDxCharleston. He regularly has speaking engagements on his schedule so this is not a new foray for him but will be one that he eagerly anticipates. The 44 year old is ready to push “grand ideas” and “to show that there is hope and change can happen”. He is thrilled at the prospect of visiting Charleston in April.

People acknowledging the hard work that he has displayed throughout his life has been a “good thing” for Kayongo to say the least. In his time with the Global Soap Project, he has saved countless lives, spread his message confidently, and set himself up for a morally and financially prosperous future. There are many things that he can be proud of but his ideas for change in the face of turmoil are what Derreck Kayongo should hold most dear. His rise to prominence has not been an accident.

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