A Levin woman is putting out the call for local women to donate their unwanted bras to a special project that helps impoverished women overseas.

Jess Ward is a local collector for The Uplift Project, an initiative that gathers good condition, second-hand bras and delivers them to women living in some of the world's poorest communities, and for whom owning a bra is often completely out of reach.

Ward has already collected several boxes and bags of donated bras and hopes to increase that number so they can be part of a shipment sent to women in need.

The Uplift Project has shipped bras to women in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Philippines, Bali, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Botswana, Uganda and Pakistan, the Northern Territory and the Kimberley regions in Australia since its inception in 2005.


Since then, it has distributed over two million bras to women who need them for dignity, practicality and comfort.

Even if some of those locations do have shops selling bras, they are often unaffordable for women living in poverty who feel unable to spend money buying themselves a bra when feeding their family is the priority, the organisation said.

Many of the locations do not have accessibility to items such as mastectomy or breast-feeding bras, so these are also included in collections by the project.

The organisation says women appreciate the common dignity of a bra.

"Bras control breast swing when women bend to garden or cook at ground level. In humid climates rashes, fungal infections and abscesses occur between the breast and the chest wall. Bras help by allowing air circulation. Nursing mums everywhere leak, and bras allow the dignity of a dry shirt, and the comfort of support. A thrush rash on a mother's skin may spread to her baby's mouth, and then back into the breast itself. A mastectomy bra offers privacy about the problem," its website states.

"For the women to be given free bras is an unbelievable experience for all of them."

Ward said she first came across The Uplift Project when looking for somewhere to donate some of her own unwanted bras.

"I didn't feel like throwing them out as they were still in good condition," she said.


"I Googled where to donate them and came across the [project]."

The concept resonated with her, so Ward contacted a representative for the organisation and set up a collection.

She currently collects the bras at her home, but is in the process of setting up a drop-off point at a central Levin business.

"For myself, being a big-busted woman, bras aren't cheap," she said.

"I've been to a few countries around the world where bras aren't accessible or affordable for women - this is a little something I can do. We're a bit of a sisterhood."

Anyone interested in donating bras in good condition can contact Jess Ward on 021 295 7019.


For more information on The Uplift Project visit www.upliftbras.org