a tale of two cities
Five years ago, Flagler College Enactus launched a soap company with abused and neglected young men at a foster care home in St. Augustine, Florida. Today, we produce a product line of five different eco-friendly soaps. The business is called Soapy Tales. The package of each soap tells the story of one of our partners in grime. The soaps are available in local stores and sold online. All of the profits go to the boys for start-up living expenses when they are forced to leave the home at 18.
In 2016, Soapy Tales became a tale of two cities. Flagler College Enactus partnered with the Dominican Development Group (DDG) to bring Soapy Tales to the town of San Marcos in the Dominican Republic. The DDG is a unique mission organization within the Episcopal Church that works with economically depressed communities in the DR. Executive Director, Bill Kunkle, has been working closely with the community of San Marcos for 6 years.
San Marcos is a small town far removed from the lush tourist resorts. The people here live in extreme poverty; most live on less then $1.25 a day. They do not have access to clean water, have limited healthcare, and only a few of the children finish primary school. Most drop out at 14 to support their family. Their prospects are bleak. In this part of the country jobs are scarce, particularly for young people who represent 43% of the total unemployed population in the DR.
Soap making is easy to learn, has low startup costs, and would create income for this struggling community. In June 2017, two members of Flagler College Enactus traveled to the Dominican Republic to establish the business, Dominican Wave, and begin production. Flagler Enactus alumna and CEO of Dominican Wave, Chelsea Reppin, spent 13 months in the Dominican Republic developing the program. In June of 2017, Executive Director Mabel Hernandez was hired to lead operations in DR.