In 2012, a small group of the A2Empowerment network supported a bra project. The idea was sparked by a blog post from Charmayne Cooley, a Peace Corps Volunteer at the time:
Sunday, June 24th 2012 (2nd to last paragraph for date entry):
“…After a year and a half in village, I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on a lot of the major problems – but also recognize that there’s always something new to learn as the “outsider.” What was their concern? They were upset with the condition of their breasts. Yup… As it turns out, saggy boobs (or, breasts that fall – seins qui tombent) are really worrisome to the women (and men). They explained that, after breastfeeding, they find their ladies aren’t so perky. Not only does this make them feel unattractive, but it has larger cultural implications. This was shocking to me since, after seeing breasts day in and day out in public during breastfeeding, I wouldn’t have assumed they’re a body part that is as sexualized as they are in America. However, the women said that it leads their men to stray, and the men nodded in agreement…”
Thinking of all of the practically new bras that no longer fit her following pregnancies, Anne C reached out to Charmayne with a proposal: gather bras to distribute in Cameroon to help improve women’s self-image. Charmayne agreed, and tied the project to a women’s health seminar in her village. There was a huge response, both here and in Cameroon. Charmayne distributed the 170(!) bras in her village, and summarized this experience in a piece published in the Peace Corps Cameroon Newsletter.
Recently, Charmayne found this link, suggesting we were onto something back then:
Anne C was recently prompted by a colleague to try this again, so stay tuned in the near future for Bra Project – Take 2!
…and thank you to everyone who supports women, both literally and figuratively =)