Bra-zen campaign helps African women

Over 200 bras have been donated by Housing Executive employees to help prevent women being sexually abused in Africa. Left to right: Avril Shields, Assistant Housing Services Manager with staff members; Tracy Collins, Patricia Kane, Olive Coates, Joanna Mc Clure, Laura Broom, Laura Thornbury, Natalie McVeigh and organiser, Joan Turkington.
Over 200 bras have been donated by Housing Executive employees to help prevent women being sexually abused in Africa. Left to right: Avril Shields, Assistant Housing Services Manager with staff members; Tracy Collins, Patricia Kane, Olive Coates, Joanna Mc Clure, Laura Broom, Laura Thornbury, Natalie McVeigh and organiser, Joan Turkington.

Housing Executive staff in Lisburn recently lent their support to a charity campaign by collecting bras for women in Africa.

Joan Turkington, who works in the Housing Executive’s Antrim Street office, asked colleagues to donate their lingerie after learning about an initiative at a local library.

The clerical officer’s request for underwear may have, at first, raised a few eyebrows, but Joan explained that the social status of women in Africa is raised - and they are less susceptible to sexual assaults - if they are wearing a bra.

Her colleagues immediately offered to support the campaign and when ews of the initiative spread to the neighbouring Dairy Farm office, staff there also generously donated their new or briefly worn bras.

Joan said: “In many parts of Africa women go without bras because they cannot afford them; underwear is considered a luxury item.

“However, wearing these items raises the social status of women in their communities, which in turn helps reduce the instance of rape and sexual assault, and helps stop the spread of disease.

“I delivered a car load of bras to the organiser of the local ‘Knit and Natter’ group, which is based in a nearby library, this morning.

“She was delighted with the number of bras we had managed to gather up – 232 in total.

“The ladies, who attend the ‘Knit and Natter’ group every week, knit clothes or fundraise for various charities throughout the year.

“The bras will be shipped off to Africa soon – I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who donated.”