May 2010 – Monthly Roundup!

 New total 8971!! 

Date for your diary 30 October.  This will be our first charity fundraiser ball and will be held in the Carlton Highland Hotel.  Very exciting but also very scary, hope I won’t be sitting there on my own! More information next month.

So many people to say “thank you” to this month.  Firstly to Lynn and Malcolm (my neighbours) for taking all the pants and sorting / logging them.  Not only are they sorting and counting them all, their once tidy garage is now the overflow stockroom. I started them off with a mere 252 to break them in gently as the next load was in the region of 1400! However, they did offer to help so I felt no guilt.  They sort of cheated anyway as they enlisted the help of their 2 daughters and one of their friend’s.  Think they all enjoyed themselves but what did make me laugh was when their youngest (aged 6) shouted over to me the next day that she had been counting “BIG bras”.

Thank you to Boudiche!  I was hyper when I got off the plane from Kenya and checked my email to see that the pantometer was at 1396.  Thanks to all the people who contributed and made the Boudiche appeal so successful.

Also I want to say “thank you” once again to Tracey and David, if you’ve read my update 23 April you will know why!

Thanks also to Stella, Val, Audrey and Evelyn for taking part in the Edinburgh marathon this Sunday (23rd May).  I’m really very grateful that you girls are supporting Smalls For All as know there are many other worthwhile causes you could be running for.  I will be there to cheer you on!

A big thanks to Karen Keachie, Elaine Blackwood and their colleagues for all their support.  The constant stream of underwear from Glasgow is much appreciated, as is their monetary donation.

Thursday 6 May was a nerve racking day, not because of the election but because that’s when I had my phone interview with Reader’s Digest!!  Have no idea how it went and am reserving judgement until I see the finished article, sometime in July I think. I will put a link to the article on my blog for those of you who may not subscribe to Readers Digest!

A few people after reading my Kenya update have asked me whether or not the purpose of Smalls For All is changing.  The answer is “absolutely not”.  I’m far too selfish and enjoy doing the underwear drops too much to stop doing it. But it is true that on my last trip to Kenya I started to think more about the longer term aspects of what I was doing and how I could perhaps do something to help people become more self sufficient so they are not so reliant on handouts.  To put this into context I’m in no way suggesting we can make a positive impact (other than donate underwear) in the IDP camps as quite simply the scale of the help they need is more along the lines of what the UN, Oxfam etc (the big organisations) can provide.  But one of the groups of people I met that I would like to help is a group of grandmothers who live in the Githogoro and Huruma slums.  There are 13 grandmothers with 28 grandchildren, these grandmothers have been left to look after their orphaned grandchildren and whilst they make coasters & baskets to sell, they are struggling to make ends meet.  I’ve also been talking to the lady who is organising the “Dignity Restored” (Zimbabwe) campaign in terms of looking at a small capacity building project to help some of the girls there that have had no education, training or are in employment.  Talks are at a really early stage and research is ongoing.

As you can imagine I have heard lots of stories of why underwear is so important and have seen first hand how a simple pair of pants can be so well received by women and the children!  However, on my last trip I was fortunate enough to spend more time with the recipients of our donations, and got to see first hand how hard these people work to get by. I thought wouldn’t it be great if they could be self sufficient and be in a position to buy their own underwear? 

The idea for Smalls For All came about after I read an article about women and young girls in Zimbabwe, but also what I’d experienced myself from working abroad.  Added to that was the research I did and with talking to other organisations that collected & distributed underwear, usually alongside providing other aid work ie sponsorship of children.  My objective was to help women and children, who for whatever reason found themselves in a position of having no or little underwear, helping to restore their dignity in the process.  My stance therefore is that the purpose for Smalls For All is not changing but evolving in ways that I believe are practical and manageable.  Hope this makes sense, if not give me a shout. 

The week in Kenya was really, really busy with the underwear drops, moving the St Monicas girls to their new home and doing their requirement shopping for going back to school.  Although I did start some research into the potential wider activities with the help of a Kenya NGO (Sisters Arise) it was in no way enough to decide a way forward. 

In addition I am also speaking with the lady who organised the Zimbabwe trip, we are hoping to talk more about a possible partnership where we can set up a small scheme to help some girls with no education, training or employment to become self sufficient.

ETHIOPIA

No update on the whereabouts of our lost 1,000 pants. 

CHARITBLE STATUS

Our legal Constitution has been drafted and I am waiting on feedback.

KENYA

1355 delivered.  Posted an update on Friday 23 April and 3 May, have also uploaded some pictures for you to have a look at.

ZIMBABWE

Shirley & I are looking to meet in July so I can hand over our donations.  We have approx 3,000 for Zimbabwe at the moment but still collecting !

CAN YOU HELP?

 Do you know, or know of anyone that has unwanted football strips?  Need shorts and tops for 10-25 year olds.  These will be sent to Gweru, Zimbabwe.

 Knickers – ladies (8,10 &12)

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