Bra shopping in Malawi

This blog is written by RIPPLE Africa volunteer, Nikki Luxford

If you read the post called Charity within a Charity you’ll know that the women in the Lowani Ladies Sewing Circle make sanitary pad kits. The profit is then spent on helping needy people in the community with basic items such as soap, salt and matches.

Because the women earn nothing from making these kits my mother and I treated the women to a spot of bra shopping!

So you’re probably thinking, bra shopping – how does that happen in Malawi? Well back when I was in Spain we launched a bra campaign whereby both new and good second-hand bras were donated with the aim of setting up a few women with a business. During my parent’s recent trip they brought out one of the bags of bras.

Working closely with the 23 ladies at the sewing circle to help develop ideas, I’ve got to know them well and when my mum was over she was talking to the women about their lives and what life is like for Malawian women – the general consensus is that they work extremely hard. As well as them working incredible hours in their own homes to ensure their husbands, children, parents and siblings are looked after they are also dedicating hours each week to make the kits and help others in their community so we decided each lady would receive a bra (a luxury item here).

 women Malawi
Trying on bras

One lady didn’t even own a bra and for those that had, many of them were extremely worn and old and for most they weren’t even the right size – and for the bigger busted ladies amongst the group, that wasn’t helping them.

The bra ‘shopping’ involved lots of singing and dancing and bras being spun about above their heads. By the end all the ladies were kitted out with a bra and the one lady who didn’t own a bra received two! I might add that it was the choice of the rest of the ladies in the group that the ‘bra-less’ lady receive two bras as she’d never had one – she’s 34 years old and mother-of-four.

 women Malawi
Bra dancing

At the next meeting the ladies were all very proud wearing their new bras – and productivity seems to have increased too!

 women MalawiBras = Happy ladies!

If you’d like to read more about life in rural Malawi, Nikki has posted a number of blogs on her website.

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