Bring out your bras to help Pacific women

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

The call has gone out for cast-off bras.

Internationally, the Uplift Project is calling for unwanted but usable bras to help support women in the Pacific Islands.

Local organiser Jodie Monaghan, of Balclutha, said she had stumbled upon this worthy cause on Facebook and wanted to become involved, because without a suitable bra many women and girls in the Pacific cannot get jobs, play competitive sport or even go out into the community.

“When you are a big girl, you really need a bra for support and modesty.

“Because of the remoteness of some island nations, the only bras on offer are cheap Chinese-made ones suitable for petite women of a much smaller bust size.

“By recycling your old and unused bras, we can offer these Pacific Island women a chance at a career, a chance to earn money to support their families.

“A new bra in the islands can cost the equivalent up to 30 hours’ wages and because of the humidity they are not allowed to try them on in the shops, so they need our spare bras,” she said.

Mrs Monaghan said they were looking for bigger-sized bras, nursing bras, sports bras, mastectomy bras, knickers for girls and adult swimwear.

The Uplift Project was started in Australia in 2003. Since then New Zealand women have contributed over 50,000 bras to the cause.

Mrs Monaghan said the group relied on friends and NGOs to take the boxes of bras to the islands, and despite the bras being donated there had been stories of them being sold for profit rather than being given to the girls and women who desperately need them.

“In some households there may only be one bra to be shared around all the women there to use, and that’s not right.

“Last year when yachties went to the outer Fijian islands with donated eyeglasses from the Lions, the women there kept asking for bras.

“When Cyclone Winston hit Fiji a few years ago, Uplift Project went along and delivered donated bras to the women, who were more excited to receive the bras than fresh food,” she said.

Mrs Monaghan said she has arranged for two drop-off buckets for unwanted bras to be left at Curious Clothing in Milton and at the Balclutha Bookshop and Lotto store.

Later she will have a bra drop-off collection point at the annual Kaitangata Car Show and the South Otago A&P show.