This term, the NCNS Community Development team hosted two Bra Gifting Days thanks to Support the Girls Australia. Support the Girls Australia began due to CEO, Jane Holmes having a chance encounter with a dishevelled and malnourished 13 year old girl at a shopping mall, who had asked Jane if she had spare sanitary products she could give to her. Jane of course, supplied the sanitary products and bought the young girl lunch, and listened to this girls story. Jane found out that the young girl had run away from home due to being sexually abused by her step father and had since been on the streets. When the girl showed Jane where she was living, Jane also met a weather beaten elderly women who had not owned a bra for 4 years and who showed Jane her severely infected breast tissue as a result of this.
After these two encounters, Jane spent a month researching available services that would support women with these issues and could not find one single Australian Service. Jane left her paid job to create a charity that would give disadvantaged women and girls access to underwear, toiletries and sanitary products.
Support the Girls Bra Gifting Days are all about empowering women with dignity and respect. The days provide women with bras, underwear, toiletries and menstrual hygiene products, encouraging a sense of self-worth and self-care. An important part of these Bra Gifting Days, is to connect with women face to face as many women of the women who attend are socially isolated for various different reasons. These events are great for women to meet other women like themselves.
NCNS Program Manager – Communities & Children, Robert Servine, first found out about Support the Girls Australia, while working at a previous role. Robert was working with a client who was a teenage girl who had not been taught about personal hygiene so was looking for a service that could teach her how to look after herself. Robert contacted CEO Jane Holmes and then connected with Maggie, the NSW Coordinator for Support the Girls.
Robert explained, “Support the Girls is a unique charity that fills a need in the community that no one else does. I knew the need was there, so we were thrilled to be able to host these Bra Gifting Days at our Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre, to help fill this need and to empower women in our local community.”
Both events went incredibly well. The first event was for girls and 14 high school girls were properly fitted and ensured they had bras to start the school year. The second event on Wednesday 10th February was open to women of all ages, and we had 32 women receiving a proper bra fitting and bras to take home with them. The Support the Girls volunteers were amazing. For the Back to School Event, they provided 6 volunteers and for the community event they provided 9 volunteers, alongside 2 bra fitters at each event. Hygiene products along with a lot of information were also provided to those who attended.
The community feedback has been extremely positive. Everyone left these events smiling. Maggie told us that a few ladies told her how much this experience has helped them. One of the ladies has 14 grandchildren, that she helps to look after and has not had any time to look after herself. She only had one bra and it did not fit correctly. Another lady did not have any bras because she could not afford one, so she was so grateful to walk away with properly fitted bras.
The community response was incredible with our community event completely booked out and had a waiting list of 14 people. For this reason, the NCNS Communities team are now planning to do a Bra Gifting Day quarterly, moving forward with the next event this June 2021.
If you would like to get in contact with the NCNS Communities team please call 02 4729 0442 or email firstname.lastname@example.org