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Briarcliff Students Work To Help Clean African Refugee Camps

Adviser Jeanne Claire Cotnoir, juniors Myles Ellis and Gerardo
Munoz and other members of Briarcliff High School’s Coalition for Human Dignity, organized a schoolwide soap drive this month to collect bars of soap for refugee camps in East Africa.
Adviser Jeanne Claire Cotnoir, juniors Myles Ellis and Gerardo Munoz and other members of Briarcliff High School’s Coalition for Human Dignity, organized a schoolwide soap drive this month to collect bars of soap for refugee camps in East Africa. Photo Credit: Courtesy The Briarcliff Manor School District

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – They may be thousands of miles away, but students at Briarcliff High School are not letting that stop them from helping refugee camps in East Africa.

Members of Briarcliff High School’s Coalition for Human Dignity organized a schoolwide soap drive in February as part of their initiative to “advance dignity abroad,” according to a statement.

The group’s drive is part of the national initiative known as the Global Soap Project. The program was started to combat the deaths of 2.4 million children each year from hygiene- and sanitation-related illnesses, according to the group’s website . The project attempts to “prevent those deaths and improve global health by recycling used hotel soap and turning it into new bars that are distributed to vulnerable populations around the world,” the Global Soap Project said on its website .

The group is focusing on causes that “promote human dignity for all,” Briarcliff adviser Jeanne Claire Cotnoir said.

“If there is someone who needs to be stood up for, we will stand up for them,” Cotnoir said in a statement. She also cited Invisible Children and similar efforts to help children and others at risk in the genocide taking place in Darfur.

Students collected new and gently used bars that will be delivered to camps in Uganda and Sudan. The gently used bars are processed and purified into clean bars, representatives with the district said. The camps will use the soap to promote “good hygiene and prevent dysentery that is prevalent in those regions,” officials said in the statement.

Briarcliff’s Coalition for Human Dignity also participates in an annual global youth conference on human dignity in Washington, D.C.

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