Malika Rawal, 15, and Simran Bhargava, 14, are on a mission to clean up the world, at least as far as personal hygiene is concerned. The two friends have formed HelpHygiene, a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide hygiene supplies to impoverished communities both here and abroad as well as educate those communities about the importance of personal hygiene.
Over the past seven months, the two friends have collected 1,200 toiletry items and 700 pairs of shoes that have been passed on to Crisis Assistance, a Child’s Place and The Relatives. They have also collected $6,000 to help fund the organization and its work.
Over Christmas break, they plan a trip to India to deliver supplies and visit rural preschools to stress the importance of hygiene to the teachers and young students.
Malika, a rising sophomore at Providence Day School, got the idea after a trip to India where she saw poverty like she had never imagined.
“I saw kids walking around in the dirt with only undergarments on – no shoes,” said Malika.
“Their families could not afford water, and what little water they had was only for drinking, they were not able to wash their hands or brush their teeth.”
Simran, a rising freshman at Marvin Ridge High School, had a similar experience while visiting her family in India. When Malika asked her to share responsibilities with the nonprofit, she gladly accepted.
“There are a lot of diseases around the world that people pass away from that could be prevented by proper hygiene. We have so much and so many people have nothing,” said Simran.
And it’s not just third world countries that need help. Malika says the need is great here at home as well.
“For the homeless, sometimes hygiene is the last priority. They have to worry about food, water and shelter. But if we can help them with hygiene needs, then we can make a lasting impact on their health,” said Malika.
While the two hygiene ambassadors have held several hygiene supply drives, they are looking for others to join the cause.
They are holding a membership drive 4-9 p.m. June 11 at the Stone Creek Ranch clubhouse, 6620 Rafia Road, Charlotte, 28277.
The social event is designed to introduce potential members to the organization and will include pizza, games and several speakers.
Those interested must be 10 years old or older. Membership dues are $35 per year and members must commit to conducting or helping with hygiene supply drives as well as fundraising events. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 7.
Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer: email@example.com.
For information about the organization, needed supply list, and how you can help, visit http://www.helphygiene.com, check out their Facebook page at HelpHygiene or follow them on Instagram @helphygienefoundation.
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