Local company Beauty and the Bees Tasmania, who produce natural haircare and skincare products at their factory in Glenorchy, have collaborated with the Rotary Club of Bellerive to send a large supply of soap to schools in Fiji.

The pallet, which will be shipped to Fiji this week, contains 4500 bars of soap, worth $27,000, to help as many people as possible in communities who often cannot afford or access bar soap.

Beauty and the Bees owner Jill Saunders hopes that the donation will help the Pacific island community in their attempts to stop the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). There have been three confirmed cases in the country so far (as of time of writing, 24 March 2020), and – as in Australia – the Fijian government has launched a public campaign focused on increased hygiene measures.

Ms Saunders says, “Over the past few weeks in Tasmania, our team has been working incredibly hard to keep up with the increased demand from loyal customers for soap through our online shop and Salamanca storefront.”

“We are very aware of how lucky we are here, and wanted to pass on the goodwill that has been shown to us in Australia, doing what we can to help an overseas community with more limited access to soap products. Working with the Fiji Schools Project means we can get our soap into the hands of people who really need it, at a time when it’s vital to improve hygiene.”

The Fiji Schools project is led by Hobart Rotarians Veena and Denys Tilly, and works to assist and develop schools in rural areas of Lautoka. Established in 2005, the project’s focus is usually on providing technology and library resources, but the current pandemic means that more basic supplies are also needed.

Locally, Beauty and the Bees are offering free soap samples from their Salamanca store.

According to World Health Organisation data, the worst-affected Pacific state is Guam with 29 cases of coronavirus including one death.