Used bras bound for Zim­babwe

Central Leader - - News - By Janie Smith

A Royal Oak res­i­dent is of­fer­ing sup­port to African women on a very per­sonal level.

Frances McInnes is col­lect­ing sec­ond­hand bras to send to the con­ti­nent as part of the char­ity col­lec­tion Knick­ers for Africa.

Mrs McInnes owns Breast­mates, an on­line store that sells breast­feed­ing prod­ucts for preg­nant women and new moth­ers.

She got in­volved with Knick­ers for Africa through the com­pany HOT­milk, her ma­ter­nity bra sup­plier.

“Be­cause I have a breast­feed­ing busi­ness, so many mums have bras they don’t wear any­more or won’t fit once they have their ba­bies,” she says.

Mrs McInnes sent a news­let­ter to her cus­tomers and within a week and a half had around 150 do­nated bras.

“It’s quite funny get­ting all th­ese sec­ond­hand bras. It’s such a cool way to be able to re­ally help th­ese women.”

The idea for the char­ity came from for­mer Zim­bab­wean Morag Roy, who now lives in Aus­tralia.

On a trip back to her home coun­try, she dis­cov­ered girls and women were des­per­ately in need of bras and knick­ers.

The un­der­wear gives them pres­tige, shows they have money and means men are less likely to as­sault them, she says.

Mrs McInnes says along with the sec­ond­hand bras she will send brand new endof-line knick­ers.

A few peo­ple thought the un­der­wear was go­ing to tribal women who walked around naked any­way, she says.

“But they are school­girls and women who live in vil­lages who wear clothes and maybe only have one pair of knick­ers and maybe no bras.”

Peo­ple can do­nate their pre-loved bras in any size, in­clud­ing ma­ter­nity bras, as long as they are still func­tional and don’t have holes.

Mrs McInnes says some of her cus­tomers are us­ing the col­lec­tion to get rid of their old bras and buy new ones.

HOT­milk di­rec­tor Lisa Ebbing says the com­pany has re­tail­ers around the coun­try col­lect­ing bras and will send sev­eral ship­ments of un­der­wear to Africa through­out the year.

“We heard about the char­ity and thought it was a great idea. It fits per­fectly with us.”

Stores are also col­lect­ing in Aus­tralia and Bri­tain.

Bras can be dropped off or posted to Mrs McInnes at 17 Boyd Ave, Royal Oak, Auck­land, 1061, un­til May.

For more de­tails go to www. breast­mates. co. nz/ africa.html. To do­nate money call 0508 BREAST (0508273-278).

Per­sonal sup­port: Frances McInnes is col­lect­ing bras to send to Africa.

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