Vision & Impact
/b· a· r ·e ·/ : bringing antiseptic resources to everyone
b.a.r.e. soaps is an all-natural, socially conscious company. It is a passion project which means that none of us at b.a.r.e. soaps receive a salary for what we do. We volunteer our time with the goal of creating a sustainable means (selling really good soap!) to fund economic development initiatives that we believe in. In fact, all of us have full-time jobs to support ourselves. Therefore, profits are either reinvested back into the business (inventory, marketing, etc) or into our non-profit causes.
How we started: Soap with a CAUSE
Most of sub-Saharan Africa still lacks access to improved sanitation.
UNICEF estimates that diarrhea kills one child every 30 seconds.
A simple bar of soap can prevent diarrheal diseases by over 40%.
Initially, we started with the intention to donate soap to places of need. But then we had a few realizations:
- Soap is a consumable good which means it eventually disappears. To truly donate soap, you need to set up an infrastructure that continuously donates soap
- Soap is actually accessible in many rural areas but is too expensive to buy. By donating soaps, we would be taking away from the local merchants who sell soap
- We can facilitate good hygiene practices by empowering women and children through economic development. This means employing them or providing them with an education so that they have the means to purchase what they need. Soap is important, but there are other essentials that these people may prioritize before soap
As Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert of When Helping Hurts have observed, it is important to understand that development is not done to people or for people but with people. We're not just interested in donating soap. We're looking to invest in communities to help them become economically self-sustainable. We specifically look for projects that empower women by employing them with fair wages, educate children with a tangible trade, or initiatives that incorporate an element of environmental sustainability.
Where we are now:
Kaberamaido, Uganda (2012-present)
After b.a.r.e soaps was founded in 2012, we took on some of these immediate needs projects. Within a year, we were able to use funds to purchase vitamins that would be distributed to the children of the Carepoint three times a week. Soap was also provided to the site upon various teams’ return, though we are moving towards a model of purchasing locally made soaps to support small businesses in Kaberamaido.
At one specific point in 2014, Kaberamaido suffered a Hepatitis B outbreak. As a result, we diverted funds to immediately support Hepatitis B vaccinations. We have also been able to provide sanitation lessons that include the importance and instruction of hand washing. Additionally, we have also been able to support Kaberamaido’s local economy by purchasing locally made custom leather shoes for every child.
While we recognize the importance of immediate needs, we also firmly believe in long-term sustainable projects:
In 2014, we contributed to funds that were used to purchase land, directed to cultivate crops. Any additional crops would be sold and that income would be directed back to the Carepoint.
In 2015, we matched up to $1,000 for the ‘Change Their Story’ Christmas campaign that our partnering church, Point Community Church, ran (members from this church directly sponsor each child in the Carepoint). This campaign included funds that were used to purchase one goat for every child. Because goats reproduce easily, the hope is that these goats would multiply and enable the children and their family to sell the goats to buy other livestock, such as cows, to help with farming.
In 2016, we helped fund a local resource center that would house books and potentially computers (once electricity could be set up). We continued to donate vitamins as well as other sanitary essentials (soaps, toothbrushes, etc)
Our most recent initiative in 2017 was to provide power via solar panels to the resource center. Unlike other initiatives where we partnered with Point Community Church, this was a sole b.a.r.e. soaps effort and we are eager to see how this changes the community!
Kalwa Slum, India (2016-present)
Partnering with Sundara Fund
In 2016, we partnered with Sundara Fund, a nonprofit which enables the repurposing of used hotel soaps to be rebatched and redistributed to local communities and health clinics. We funded Sundara’s Kalwa Slum’s initiative by employing 3 women with fair wages to:
- Collect and reprocess used hotel soap to be redistributed to slum children
- Provide for basic health care and hygiene awareness, in addition to soap distribution for children and women
The soap is distributed every month to 500 migrant school children living in the surrounding slums, along with a basic health care and hygiene training aspect. Similarly, 500 migrant slum women also receive the recycled soap when they come to the local Shravan health clinic for free health care services. This is done along with awareness training on the use of soap in good hand and body hygiene practices. Together, these activities have helped improve the health and well-being of children and women of Kalwa East and reduced the occurrence of frequent hygiene related illness that currently plagues this slum community. Read More here.
In 2018, we announced in partnership with Sundara Fund an expansion into Bangalore. More details to come!