A New Zealand-based international maternity and nursing lingerie label says over 100,000 pairs of knickers and bras have been sent from around the world to village women in Zimbabwe to help them avoid being sexually abused.
HOTmilk says when it was told that undergarments elevated a Zimbabwean woman’s prestige and make them less likely to be sexually assaulted, it donated nearly 12,000 of its items and organised HOTmilk stockists across the globe to gather quality secondhand bras and unworn underwear to ship to Africa.
The company learned about the women’s plight from expatriate Zimbabwean Morag Roy, who lives in Australia. She says a Zimabwean priest has told her what the women needed most to prevent sexual abuse is underwear that "gives a woman prestige, shows they have money and means men are less likely to assault them".
Roy ensured that the boxes of underwear donations cleared customs and made their way to those who most needed them.
"Most of the bras have been given out in Samkele, Lupane and Bulawayo areas," she says.
"The women love them and there is always great excitement and joy when they are received."