Here at Bella Materna we are always seeking ways to pay it forward. One of our favorite partnerships is with www.FreetheGirls.org. Lets face it, when you become pregnant, you will be very unlikely to fit into that pre-pregnancy bra again. Not necessarily because of weight gain, but the shape of your body, especially breasts will not be the same, and most likely not fit or uncomfortable in those bras. What a great time to donate them to this organization and get a $5 credit toward your maternity and nursing bras from Bella Materna! Read on to learn more about this great organization.
Who is Free The Girls?
They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides job opportunities for survivors of sex trafficking in developing countries. We collect gently used bras, ship to Free the Girls, they provide them to the women in our program so they can start a small business selling bras.
What's the problem they are solving?
Currently 20-37 million men, women and children are being held as slaves around the world, more today than in any other time in history. The majority of those slaves are women and girls, many of whom are victims of sex trafficking. There are a number of amazing organizations that are helping to rescue these women out of a life of prostitution, but what happens after they are rescued? Many aftercare providers are doing great work in providing comprehensive restoration and educational opportunities to survivors, but often their resources are limited.
Free the Girls Solution:
By partnering with established aftercare facilities, we provide an opportunity for sex trafficking survivors to build their own business selling second-hand clothing while going to school, building a house, and caring for their families. Selling clothes allows them to work as much or as little as their school schedule permits. The women in our program receive their starting inventory as a donation, and are then able to buy additional inventory from Free The Girls for below wholesale value to help maintain their competitive edge in the marketplace. Revenue from inventory sales covers our overseas program costs so our international programs are sustainable. We work one-on-one with each budding entrepreneur in areas like inventory management, budgeting, and fi nancial planning for future dreams and goals they want to achieve. To date we’ve collected over 500,000 new and gently used bras from women all over the world, and have served over 60 women in Mozambique, Uganda and El Salvador. We are currently exploring launching additional pilot programs in other parts of Africa and Central America.
Let’s face it, ladies: the back of your underwear drawer is most likely a graveyard of bras you don’t wear anymore or that never fi t right in the fi rst place. By contrast, second-hand clothing is a profi table market in many countries around the world. Bras are sought after items. And even better, bras provide an opportunity for these women to work with other women, since they have a history of being abused and used by men.
What can you do?
Free The Girls has a number of ways for you to become an Everyday Abolitionist! Donate a bra (Bella Materna is an official Drop Off Location in Seattle, Washington). Host a bra drive. Become a monthly fi nancial supporter. Hold a fundraiser. Start a book club. Contact your local anti-traffi cking coalition. Write to your state and national elected offi cials. Share information on social media. Write a note to a survivor of sex traffi cking. Find out more at freethegirls.org