I just read a wonderful write-up about Oxfam’s big bra hunt in The Sunday Times Magazine. British second-hand bras are in demand in Africa as they are deemed to be the most well made (there is no local underwear manufacturing). Journalist Charlotte Eager followed the trail of her donated bright La Senza bra.
It travelled from her local Oxfam to the sorting depot in Huddersfield then onwards to Senegal.
Her bra landed at Bourguiba, the HQ of Frip Ethique (which means ‘ethical second-hand clothes’) where it was compressed into a 450 kg bale and then was sold at the wholesale market and finally made it onto local market trader Ndeye’s stall. The bra was bought by a 22 yr old factory worker for 62p.
Each step of the process provides regular employment to local Senegalese people, from the clothes sorter to the market trader and has proved a financial success with 2011 turnover at £1.5m with profits returned back into Oxfam’s purse. A simple yet effective initiative and all we have to do to help is donate our old bras. So get the charity bag out and start filling!
All images The Sunday Times Magazine and Oxfam