Globally, 1,800 children under the age of five die every day from diseases linked to poor water, sanitation and hygiene. Georgie Demir, 13, who attends St Ignatius College, Geelong, is doing something in our world to Make a Difference. Please SHARE! In 2017 she travelled to Cambodia with her Mum, volunteering to build a school wash house with Head, Heart and Hand Holidays. Georgie fell in love with the Cambodian kids and wants to return to help them.
‘They don’t have much, but they are so happy. Everyone says ‘arkoun’ which means thank you, that inspired the name of my business,’ Georgie said. She saw the good the building of hand-wash houses does, so thought about starting her own enterprise, Arkoun, to fund more projects.
Georgie was inspired by the video of an American boy who made soaps for the homeless. After much deliberation she decided to make soaps with scents with hints of Cambodia like coconut, orange, jasmine and honey. The names of the soaps are ‘Cambodian Sunshine’, ‘Hello Darkness My Old Friend’, ‘Don’t Be Afraid to Sparkle’ and ‘Bee Kind to Others’. ‘The image on the packaging is from a girl I met at one of the schools. She couldn’t speak English, and I didn’t know Khmer, but we still had a lot of fun and the friendship continues.’
‘In 2017 I started Arkoun, to make soaps with all profits going to build wash houses. It has been an exciting and crazy busy. I’ve already sold 700 soaps so I’m on my way to funding the first wash house. Positive feedback about the100% recycled packaging and the quality of soaps is heartening. Repeat orders are always exciting. Vegan and vegetarian friendly soaps, sparkle soap with no synthetic glitter loved by children, are available. All soaps are only tested on friends and family not on furry friends!’
Georgie has an on-line store at https://www.arkoun.org/ and anyone can learn more about her story on Facebook and Instagram by searching Arkoun. Profits from the sale of her handmade soaps will help build future wash houses and save more lives.
Georgie plans to return to Cambodia at the end of 2018 to project manage the wash house, that she’s helped to fund, with Head, Heart and Hand Holidays. She is hoping friends, family and Arkoun supporters will join her in Cambodia to make a difference.
Each wash house gives about 400 school children access to basic hygiene education and hand washing facilities. Georgie learnt that 380 children under five die each year due to poor sanitation and less than one in three Cambodians have access to these washing and toilet facilities.
Georgie has put together over 60 care packages which includes one of her soaps, tooth brush and toothpaste, which will be given to the Cambodian children.
Georgie’s mantra is Make a difference. Help others. Back yourself.
Anne Frank’s quote “No-one became poor by giving” keeps Georgie motivated when she’s been making soaps all day.
Photo shows Georgie helping to build the wash house in Cambodia.
Story: Jacqui Bennett