For my enrichment aspect of the AQA Baccalaureate, I wanted to do something that made a difference in other people’s lives and heading up ‘Uplift Malaysia’ seemed like the perfect fit.
However, I never imagined the response in Malaysia to be so positive and for my little enrichment community project to grow so much bigger than it first started. So far, I have donated more than 500 bras to verified NGOs in Cambodia, India and Nepal.
As a national coordinator, I have to follow
strict guidelines to ensure that the bras I donate are clean, of good quality
with sufficient support, and that our recipients are comfortable with them.
However, I find this role rewarding because I can put a smile on other people’s
face despite being so far away.
I received streams of e-mails and messages
through ‘Uplift Malaysia’s’ Facebook Page after the Star decided to do a story
on my initiative. Now, ‘Uplift Malaysia’ has state coordinators in Perak,
Penang, Negri Sembilan, Johor, Kedah and Selangor. It doesn’t stop there –
Neubodi, a bra brand that aims to “uplift beauty”, has also reached out to me
for partnership in their upcoming breast cancer awareness week campaign “Bras
for Cash” in September.
How can you, the Alice Smith Community
help? In the upcoming school trip I will
be going to Laos and I’ll be more than willing to bring pre-loved bras that you
wish to donate to the women and girls in the community we will be visiting.
Just send any donations into the school reception at JB or EP and then these
will be forwarded on.
Want to know more? Then read on…
Liz Baker from Melbourne, Australia founded
the Uplift Project in 2005. Since then, she has donated over 10,000 bras to
Fiji with the help of the Rotary Club of Australia. The ‘Uplift Project’ aims
to improve the lives of women and girls in impoverished communities and the
environment by donating bras (and other undergarments or sanitary pads
occasionally) in five ways:
Recycling pre-loved bras saves
About 80% of women (according to
statistics provided by Neubodi) buy
wrong bra sizes and shove their bras into the corner of their wardrobe.
Therefore, by donating bras to women who would be happy to use them, donors are
reducing wastage of materials that went into manufacturing and pollution made
during production thereby improving our environment.
Pre-loved bras create flexible
Many women and girls who receive our donations are victims of sex
trafficking. Most were sex trafficked when they were aged 8 – 10 and didn’t get
a chance to go to school. Pre-loved bras are sought after items in these
communities where they live so recipients of bra donations can sell them to
place food on their tables and roofs over their heads, earn themselves almost
3-5 times the minimum wage in those communities (especially in Africa) and can
sell them as and when their school schedule permits them to, giving them a
chance to catch up on their education.
Pre-loved bras help victims
socially re-integrate into society.
Selling bras enables victims of sex trafficking and abuse to
interact with other women and girls who may have been through similar
experience, they are able to form friendships again and re-integrate into
Pre-love bras do not disrupt the
According to Andrew Brooks (‘Riches from Rags or Persistent Poverty? A
Critical Discussion of the Urban Livelihoods of Used-Clothing Traders in
Mozambique’), you can’t destroy a market if there wasn’t one in the first
place. In these countries, bras are not produced, despite the obvious demand
and if they were, could women and girls in these communities afford them? Bras
are a luxury to these women and girls when they constantly worry about bread
and butter issues.
Pre-loved bras instill dignity
and empower women and girls.
The feeling of getting your first bra is indescribable – ask any
girl, she’ll know! Bras make girls and women feel like a woman, if that makes
sense. It makes women and girls feel dignified, confident, empowered, strong
and happy. This is important for recovering victims and just spreads happiness
wherever they are! This elevates them after years of rape, eve teasing, abuse,
molestation, domestic violence and sexual assaults.