Viet Nam News
by Thiên Hương
Two hundred students of Đắk R’Lấp Boarding School in the central highland province of Đắk Nông were bothered by mosquitoes until a team of students produced a self-made body wash.
“The mosquitoes attacked us every night, everywhere,” Voong Thị Hồng Hạnh, an 11-grade student said.
“We thought of creating something to get rid of them. We knew from local people that sả chanh (lemon grass) can drive away mosquitoes and also treat some skin diseases,” he said.
The idea of Hạnh and her friends has been supported by Deputy Headmaster Võ Như Sơn, who has been teaching chemistry for the past 30 years. Teacher Sơn, Hạnh and Điểu Linh spent four months discovering a formula to make a body wash from the aromatic herb.
“This kind of herb is not eatable. It has special fragrance mingling with the smell of lemon,” Sơn said.
“I just guided them. They have been active in the whole process,” he said.
A 40sq.m land on the school campus has been used to grow the plant. After four months, the plant can offer the best oil and all the extract processes have been done at the school’s laboratory.
After applying hundreds of recipes, Linh and Hạnh discovered the way to extract the maximum oil from the plant.
“Our lab is just 4sq.m with simple extract tools,” Sơn said, adding, “Last year, the chairman of Đắk R’Lấp donated VNĐ10 million for the team to buy material and chemicals for the experiment.”
The first sample of the extracted oil has been brought to the Centre for Initialising and Certifying Quality of Lâm Đồng Science and Technology Department in Đà Lạt City to test.
The students had to return to Đà Lạt the second time to assure safe conditions to turn the oil into a body wash product.
Every student at the school was then given a bottle of the body wash to experiment.
“The body wash makes the skin clean and does not cause an allergy,” Lương Tiến Sang, an 11-grade student said.
“The fragrant lasts long on my skin and is very pleasant. I no longer have mosquito bites,” he said.
Phạm Minh Khánh, teacher of literature at the school shared the same opinion.
“After a few weeks of having used the body wash, I think it is as good as any other body wash sold in the market,” he said, adding, “It is even better in expelling mosquitoes, and will be very useful in our locality where there are numerous mosquitoes, which spread dengue fever every year.”
Sơn said the product meets 13 criteria on body wash by the Ministry of Science and Technology. It received the first prize at a science and technology contest for high school students in the province and an encouragement prize at the national level contest.
Trần Văn Tăng, headmaster of the school, said the students have just produced the product on a small scale of around 200 bottles per week.
“Right now we just distribute it among school students and have not yet been able to sell in the market,” he said.
“If we have a bigger budget to invest in technology, we will not produce body wash but continue with dish washer and floor wash liquid, and other medicines to prevent skin diseases,” Linh said. VNS