By Kelly McClelland, ER Director of Women’s Advocacy
Imagine digging through the garbage on a daily basis for recyclable items likes plastic, cardboard, glass and metal to earn your living. Now imagine surviving off of what you uncover in the garbage by selling what you find, eating leftover food, and reusing any goods you find, including underwear. For many families living near the Zambiza dump in Quito, Ecuador, this is their reality.
Last year when I toured the dump, I noticed the deplorable situation many workers face. The conditions are oppressive and can appear hopeless. Women are using dirty underwear, making themselves vulnerable to diseases that could not only affect them physically, but also their livelihood. They struggle to get medications because they might miss work to visit a doctor. They cannot afford the medications without working. It perpetuates the cycle of defeat.
The Panty Project was born out of this great need. The project aims to provide fresh, clean underwear for women and children. It’s but one small step in helping to break the cycle of poverty. This September, our Women’s Advocacy team has set a goal to provide 100 women and children with underwear for 2016.
When I put my several pairs of clean underwear in my drawer after doing laundry, I’m reminded that women globally don’t have this luxury. The Panty Project is something so simple, yet so positive. A pair of undergarments really does make a world of difference to these girls!
Would you consider helping us this fall? $50 provides underwear for one woman or child for an entire year. If you would like to help, visit our donation page and designate your gift “WA Panty Project”.