Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Bra-vo! project donates bras to disadvantaged women

Marquerite Vierstraete-Williams organiser of the Rotary Masterton Bra-vo! campaign to collect bras for disadvantaged women in the Pacific.
It's a garment that many women take for granted, but for those in poorer countries it is an item of clothing that they can seldom afford.

Rotary Club of Masterton, NZ in collaboration with Uplift Bras has taken on project Bra-vo!, collecting bras for disadvantaged women in the Pacific.

The woman behind the Masterton Rotary initiative, Marquerite Vierstraete-Williams, PHF says the project is an extension of the annual Pink Ribbon Breakfasts that she has been organising in Wairarapa for three years. 

"This is a way of giving women dignity and some self-respect by helping them," she says.
The campaign during April and May has been hugely successful with other Rotary clubs in the Wellington region pitching in and the collection goal of 1000 bras was almost doubled.

Uplift Bras has sent more than 480,000 bras to women in NZ, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Tonga, Solomon Islands, the Philippines, Bali, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Northern Territory since 2005.

For one of these women, a person's unwanted bra may be the only one she'll own.
In warmer climates it's an issue of health too.

Some women get an infection called interigo, a rash or abscess which forms between the breast and the chest wall. Wearing a bra lifts the breast, increasing air circulation and hopefully reducing the incidence of infection.

Fairfax Media's regional paper Wairarapa News featured the collection drive on its front page on April 15 and promoted the story that afternoon for two hours in hero position on its online Stuff website causing an astonishing amount of emails of women wanting to donate bras.
"Women all over New Zealand have really embraced the Bra-vo! project and I think they have embraced it because any woman would understand what life would be like if they didn't have a bra," Marquerite says.

Masterton Rotary branded collection boxes travelled all over NZ, became talking points and the club's post box never received so many mail packages! 

Contact Marquerite for more information:

- Words and photos by Piers Fuller, Wairarapa News