By Ankrizel Santos
Here in the Philippines, diarrhea is a major leading cause of sickness among children. An illness that can be prevented by simple hand washing with soap and water remains a major cause of death.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), around 2.3 billion people in the world do not have basic sanitation facilities and poor sanitation is estimated to cause 280,000 deaths every year. This is what led to the creation of Squeaky Clean Kids.
A lot of children in the country are not educated about proper hygiene and they do not have access to soap or other basic toiletries. Winston Pascual, occupational medicine physician, said that his experience in working at health centers inspired him to establish Squeaky Clean Kids, a social enterprise that creates organic soaps and helps communities in the Philippines. For every soap purchased, one gets donated to a child in partner communities.
“’Nung naka-assign pa ‘ko sa health centers in Caloocan, I get to see a lot of kids na may diarrhea and pneumonia. Those are highly preventable diseases with simple hand washing. And when you asked their parents, it’s either they can’t afford or they’re not aware of the importance of hand washing,” he says.
Pascual started helping kids in different communities by collecting toiletries that he got from hotels. “I get to travel a lot because of my work. ‘Di ba when you check in sa different hotels, you get toiletries and hygiene kits. Of course, you don’t want to throw them, instead, you bring them home. I was able to gather a lot, that’s the first batch of hygiene kits na binigay namin sa community.”
And because hotel toiletries aren’t enough to help communities, he started to participate in soapmaking workshops and different organizations that can help him establish the brand.
“There’s a call for an idea made by makesense. It’s a 10-day program wherein if you have any idea they would help you improve it and your prototype. After 10 days, we started selling the soaps na. Dun na din nag-start ‘yung idea na when you buy our products, you’re automatically giving another one to the kids,” Pascual says.
Squeaky Clean Kids is currently selling five soap variants: Coco Cream and Virgin Coconut Oil, nourishes and detoxifies the skin; Goat’s Milk with Honey and Oats, hydrates skin while providing gentle exfoliation; Honey Propolis, keep skin free of bacteria; Charcoal, purifies and balances the skin and; Ginger and Lemongrass, relaxes your nerves and removes body odor.
They also offer Hair Fortifying and Volumizing Shampoo, Active Shampoo Bar,and Squeaky Clean Conditioner for your hair needs.
Aside from helping communities, the brand is also promoting zero waste lifestyle. The ingredients are grown locally in a farm in Batangas and it’s being processed in Las Piñas.
They also use recycled papers for the packaging of their products.
“We decided to source locally because it’s important that we’re supporting local ingredients here in the Philippines. Also, if we increase our production, we should use the indigenous materials. If we use other ingredients from other country, we cannot sustain it. It will become too expensive,” he adds.
Founding Squeaky Clean Kids is one of Pascual’s ways of helping other people. He also encourages everyone to support locally brands like them. “It’s very important because we’re providing livelihood, and promoting indigenous plants and other materials. And of course, we’re contributing to the economy of our country. Syempre, it’s easily available so it would be accessible and cheaper for everyone if they’ll support local brands like us.”
The brand is currently holding a crowdfunding campaign where people can help them raise funds to reach more communities and conduct soapmaking livelihood program. Visit the crowdfunding campaign here.
Photos from Squeaky Clean Kids