September 27, 2017 | Dartmouth News
by Charlotte Albright
Hand washing saves lives. That’s why Sydney Kamen ’19 founded a nonprofit organization that recycles used soap from hotels and distributes it to under-resourced communities around the world.
Her advocacy work has won accolades, including the 2017 Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) Award from the Helen Diller Family Foundation, the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, the Daily Point of Light Award, and the Robert Sheppard Leadership Award. Her work has also come to the attention of People magazine, in an article and video interview.
Kamen says she’s grateful for the public attention, but wants the spotlight to be on the problem she is trying to solve. “Over 1.8 million children die every year from diarrhea,” she says. “But mortality from infectious diseases can be cut in half through handwashing and by improving basic hygiene.”
Yet in many parts of the world, soap is scarce. Kamen first saw that for herself when, as a high school student, she got a scholarship to study vulnerable youth in rural Thailand. Her host was a nurse practitioner in a small village.
“Many of the children in her clinic didn’t know how to wash their hands,” Kamen recalls. “And they didn’t have soap.”
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