This Wednesday 8th March we celebrate International Women’s Day and the theme this year is about embracing equity - but what does that actually mean and who are the trailblazing women making a difference at our charity partner Smalls for All? Read on to find out!
Equity means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place in life.
This was the stark reality facing Maria Macnamara, the inspiring Founder & CEO of Smalls for All, when during a moving visit to Ethiopia she witnessed first-hand how just meeting a basic human need of dignity could help improve a gender imbalance across the world. Maria shared with us: "Of all the problems I thought I would come across when working in an orphanage in Ethiopia, a lack of underwear wasn't one of them. Like most people you feel a need to help, what was meant to be a one-off collection of underwear, was the start of Smalls."
- Sarah and Maria at Smalls for All, March 2023
- A girl in Kenya holds her new underwear donated by Smalls for All.
Trailblazing Women at Smalls for All
Based in West Calder, Scotland, Smalls for All is an amazing charity dedicated to collecting and distributing underwear to vulnerable women and children in Africa and the UK. Thanks to our buy-one-give-two model, Y.O.U Underwear has already donated over 23,000 pairs of underwear to Smalls for All and also to Maasai communities in Kenya and Tanzania! In celebration of International Women’s Day, our Founder and CEO Sarah visited the Smalls for All offices to help sort and distribute some of the many donations they’ve received recently, including gently worn bras and new underwear. She also saw the bumper load of 7,728 pairs of underwear in 18 boxes arrive, thanks to purchases from Y.O.U customers, so that's now over 30,000 pairs of underwear donated.
Every donation to Smalls for All really does help and makes a huge difference to vulnerable girls and women in orphanages, slums, IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps, hospitals and schools across Africa, as well as in the UK. Maria expressed that Smalls for All are especially grateful in light of the drop-in donations they're experiencing because of the cost-of-living worries everyone is facing just now, so thank you!
- Sarah and underwear donations at Smalls for All, March 2023
Women inspiring women
Maria and her Smalls for All sorting team often receive wonderful heart-felt handwritten notes enclosed with underwear donations and one recent message from a Small for All supporter said:
“…Sometimes I can’t believe that it’s left up to ordinary people to do such unordinary compassionate work, we have governments, world leaders, billionaires (which is just crackers) and it takes average folk to decide that something needs to be done and they’re just going to have to be the ones to do it because if they don’t, who will?”
We couldn’t agree more and as a female-owned brand, Y.O.U Underwear actively works to both support and work with women who are empowered to act and embrace equity. In fact when we asked Becky, one of our wonderful models, what made her decide to model for Y.O.U she shared:
“I love the use of ordinary people to showcase the products and wanted to show that you don't have to be a supermodel to look good in them! It gave me a great confidence boost too.”
We also asked Becky ‘What is one thing you wish other females knew?’. Her response:
“You are stronger than you realise and worthy of all kinds of good things.”
So, to Maria and Sarah, the trailblazing women who were compelled to act and make a fundamental difference to the people they met who didn't have access to something we take for granted every day – underwear - to the many volunteers at Smalls for All who sort, pack and distribute the much-needed underwear, to our supporters and not forgetting our fabulous models, we salute you all and Happy International Women’s Day!
P.S Have you got any gently-worn bras you no longer use? Please consider sending them to Smalls for All, and they'll find them a new happy home. Just make sure they're clean and in good condition! You can drop them off at our Y.O.U Oxford Shop or you can post them directly to Smalls for All.
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Entrepreneurship stories: Interview with Sarah Jordan, Founder and CEO of Y.O.U Underwear
A Feminist Brand: How Y.O.U Underwear Empowers Women