We all donate to the Red Cross across the globe. We wear clothes that we never wear again or even the clothes we buy that never get worn. So what do we end up doing with them? We give it to a charity that has people in need. Statistics show that:
- Over a third of women admit the number of clothes they own makes them feel guilty
- 70% of women admitted they have bought a piece of clothing and never worn it
- Almost half of women admit they own too many clothes
- British Red Cross launches new campaign It starts with her and aims to raise £2m, which the UK government will double to £4m
- The public can donate to It starts with her appeal to help make strong women stronger by visiting: redcross.org.uk/itstartswithher
- The cash will help women in the slums of Bangladesh create businesses and build communities through British Red Cross programs
Amanda Holden, Anita Rani, and Michelle Keegan are backing the new British Red Cross campaign as the charity kicks off its 150th year. The campaign, It starts with her, looks to encourage women in the UK to change the lives of women in one of the most disaster-prone places on the planet, simply by donating unwanted clothes. Almost half of women in the UK have admitted to owning too many clothes according to a recent survey for the charity. The research revealed that the majority of women claim to wear less than half of their wardrobe, with over a third admitting that the amount of clothes they no longer wear makes them feel guilty.
Britain’s Got Talent judge and British Red Cross supporter, Amanda Holden, who is backing the campaign, says:
“Why not commit to clearing out your wardrobe to help empower women in the slums of Barishal, Bangladesh? On top of dealing with the constant threat of extreme weather, these women are often abandoned by men who migrate to the cities – or face violence just for being a woman.” TV presenter Anita Rani is encouraging women across the country to get involved: “
Join me in having a clear-out for a good cause. Life for the women in Barishal, Bangladesh is extremely hard. They are often left to raise children alone, experience violence and can be forced to marry young and drop out of school.
“But the British Red Cross knows that when strong women come together they are powerful – with just a small amount of support, training and tools they can be breadwinners, mothers and leaders of their communities. Donate and declutter to help these women to build a safer future.”
Actress Michelle Keegan echoes this and is calling on the public to follow her lead. She says:
“Between January and March, money raised from the sales of all women’s clothes in British Red Cross shops will support thousands of women in Bangladesh to build sustainable livelihoods. So just by donating or buying clothes from a Red Cross charity shop you can help change lives.”
It starts with her will run from January to April raising money to help women living in the slums of the bustling Bangladesh port of Barishal, known as ‘the Venice of the East’ for the canals and rivers that wind their way across the city. the women here battle poverty, homelessness, and violence, but are fighting back with the help of British Red Cross to build their own and others’ livelihoods.It starts with her will fund women’s small businesses to thrive, through training and small cash grants, so that they can earn enough money to support their families, and build savings for the future – making them more resilient to cope with the every day and during a crisis.
In Barishal in Bangladesh, people are under threat of monsoons and flooding, which can lead to deadly illnesses spreading, especially in slum areas. The risk is even greater for women and girls who are more likely to fall into poverty, lose their homes, have no reasonable way of making a living and miss out on getting an education. The astounding 70% of women surveyed admitted that they have bought a piece of clothing and never worn it. However, for women in Barishal in Bangladesh, owning clothes you’ve never worn or can afford to cast aside is unimaginable.
Mim,19-year-old woman living in Barishal owns just four outfits but has just the same hopes, fears and passion for fashion as her counterparts anywhere in the world Mim said: “I own four everyday outfits which I rotate, and I keep three outfits for special occasions like parties and weddings. Because my family and I can’t afford to buy new clothes often – usually one new salwar kameez a year – I customize my outfits by watching YouTube tutorials to learn about different embroidery techniques and stitch designs onto plain outfits.”
Mim has joined a Women’s Squad, a community group funded and set up by the British Red Cross to give women a platform to speak up about issues that directly affect them and their communities. Here, women stand together, have their voices heard and put forward solutions for issues in their society.
Zoe Abrams, Executive Director of Communications and Advocacy, British Red Cross said:
“Our new appeal It starts with her will make use of our 150 years of experience to help women in vulnerable communities be better prepared for when the worst happens. “When women come together, they are powerful and in the wake of a crisis, that strength is needed more than ever. When it comes to picking up the pieces, rebuilding lives and creating a sustainable future that reaches every single corner of a community in the aftermath, it starts with her. Which is why we think building women’s resilience is worth investing in.”
The British Red Cross has teamed up with the UK government, through UK Aid Match, so that every pound given, up to the value of £2m, will be doubled. With your help, the British Red Cross can turn £2m into £4m. That’s thousands of strong women – and, as a result, stronger communities – supported to be even stronger. All of the money raised from women’s clothes and accessories donated between January and March will fund It starts with her, making strong women stronger. To find out where your local British Red Cross shop is, visit www.redcross.org.uk/shop