The Haya Brush: Revolutionizing Refugee Oral Health
Here’s the problem.
Oral health is an essential part to maintaining overall physical and mental well being. Because the oral cavity is a major portal of entry and the site of many diseases that affect our overall health, it is crucial for individuals to maintain their dental health. Unfortunately, refugees, whether relocated to other countries or still in refugee camps, do not have the access to resources necessary for proper oral health.
Because of a lack of funds and an immediate need for more immediate resources, many refugee families simply do not prioritize their dental health.
For governmental agencies and international aid groups, providing resources like toothbrushes, toothpaste, or dental clinics is very costly, and these resources are simply not enough to solve the problems of these refugees. For example, it is estimated to cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to set up a dental clinic in a refugee camp and over $2,000 to purchase dental materials to serve even a small subset of the population. In fact, as you saw in our presentation today, a significant portion face these oral health problems, and a revolutionary solution is necessary to addressing this pressing challenge. We need a product that is accessible for refugees, affordable, effective, and sustainable.
The Haya Brush is an oral health product based on the traditional chewing stick prepared from the Salvadora persica that has been used by rural populations in the Middle East and India as a natural method of tooth cleaning for thousands of years. In fact, a number of scientific studies, including a detailed study from the National Institute of Health, have shown that Salvadora persica possesses antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-cariogenic, and anti-plaque properties. In fact, these clinical studies, which will be explored further, have confirmed that the mechanical as well as the chemical cleansing efficacy of the Salvadora persica are equal and even at time greater than the efficacy of the toothbrush.
Salvadora persica is considered as an effective tool for maintaining oral hygiene, and several studies verify this observation. These clinical studies indicate that the use of the Salvadora persica as a dental hygiene tool has the potential to effectively and exclusively replace the modern toothbrush. Overall, the oral benefits of utilizing the Salvadora persica have been verified by scientists and clinicians around the world. This affordable, easily accessible, effective, and sustainable solution will capture the attention of millions of consumers globally, but moreover, will give refugees the tool they need to better their oral health.
By consulting with the CEO of an international plastic manufacturing company, we were able to accurately estimate the manufacturing costs for our product. For every Haya Brush sold, our social enterprise will be donating one brush to a refugee in need, we can multiply our per-unit cost by two to get a total cost of $1.50. By charging $3.00, we will have a 50% margin, giving us the return necessary to maximize our reach and help refugees around the world.
Our supply chain process focuses on 5 steps:
Farmers situated in regions near refugee camps or populations collect the native Salvadora Persica plants. By strategically positioning the farmers, transportation costs will be kept to a minimum. At first, collection will take place in Jordan, and eventually, we will potentially expand to neighboring countries.
Local workers will process the Salvadora Persica in the same areas where farmers collect the plants. This is advantageous because processing can be done for low-cost through local workers. Secondly, by minimizing travel time before processing, the plant will be kept hygienic through optimally sealing first.
The haya brush cases will be manufactured for low monetary cost in countries such as China or India. We have spoken to the CEO of Sperry Plast Ltd, a leading plastic manufacturing center, who has outlined this process for the haya brush, in addition to the plastic mold development for the case.
The processed and manufactured haya brushes will be transported to the United States, specifically to a distribution center in California. Natural alternative companies, such as The Honest Company, tend to have distribution centers in consumer-concentrated regions for convenience and accessible.
The distribution of haya brushes will take form in the following ways. Firstly, an online platform will provide avenues for both individual unit sales and subscribers. We will approach American retail stores, all-natural and herbal shops, and convenience stores.
My team and I were able to pitch The Haya Brush for the Hult Prize, an international social impact entrepreneurship competition. We won the UPenn competition and advanced as regional finalists, which meant we were one of the top 300 teams out of 25,000+ competitors worldwide!