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High School Sophomore Uses Toothbrushes, Soap to Change the World

Snigdha Jayavarapu is collecting the hygiene supplies to give to Cambodian children as part of her project to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award. Interested in donating? Drop supplies by the library at Foothill High School by March 21.

Foothill High sophomore Snigdha Jayavarapu. Photo provided by: Snigdha Jayavarapu
Foothill High sophomore Snigdha Jayavarapu. Photo provided by: Snigdha Jayavarapu
Toothbrushes and soap. Two personal care items both readily available and taken for granted in the United States. One sophomore at Foothill High School understands that many others in the world are not so fortunate as to have even the most basic hygiene supplies available to them and she aims to change that. 

Snigdha Jayavarapu, 15, is asking for donations of toothbrushes and soap with the intention of using those supplies to improve the lives and health of children in Cambodia.

Collecting the toiletries is just one part of a project to support her efforts to give to those in need while helping her earn her Girl Scout Gold Award— the highest award one can earn in the Girl Scouts. The Gold Award challenges girls to change the world by addressing an issue using a seven-step process.

"I knew I wanted to go to Asia, because I'm familiar with some of the cultures there," Jayavarapu said. "I also knew I wanted a project in health care, and a mentor suggested that I contact Cambodian Child's Dream, an organization that is locally centered that works in Cambodia. I worked with Ksenija Olmer, who travels to Cambodia frequently, to develop a plan to benefit the children at the elementary schools they have partnered with. While they mostly work with putting wells into Cambodian communities, Ms. Olmer was happy to help me adjust my project."

Jayavarapu plans to give to the children of Cambodia the supplies when she leads education workshops in that country in a year. While visiting the Cambodian kids, she plans to hold workshops and teach them about hygiene using interactive learning, coloring books and other activities.

Jayavarapu hopes to provide "tippy taps" to offer the ability for kids to wash their hands.

"Tippy taps are cheap, resourceful handwashing systems," Jayavarapu  said. "They use materials from the environment and are an easy way to keep hands clean. I hope that this will help the schools improve cleanliness of children. The schools are located near Siem Reap, and I am traveling summer after my junior year."

Jayavarapu is accepting donations of soap, toothbrushes and first aid supplies. Those interested in donating supplies can drop them by the library at Foothill High School by March 21.

Next year, Jayavarapu hopes to start a club at school to help spread the word about issues in Cambodia.

Do you know Snigdha Jayavarapu? Give her a shout out in the comments section.

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