“We believe that the social and economic empowerment of women is the beginning of the end of poverty in our community,” says Flo Khoza; the founder of Panties and Bras campaign under the Flojo Foundation.
Founded in March this year, the Panties and Bras campaign is an initiative that aims to give back to the community by empowering underprivileged young girls. Speaking to the Ngcobo Empire crew, Khoza explained how her campaign aims to give girls the options to change underwear whilst maintaining their hygiene.
She further explained that the campaign was inspired by the various sanitary towels campaigns that many other activists are running across the country. For them, however, it was about taking it a step further by identifying a need that is often overlooked.
“This campaign gives our girls self-esteem and makes them feel more comfortable to perform better and engage in extra school activities.”
“Our girls are also in need of underwear. We normally see them dressed but no one knows what’s underneath. At times they will wear the same underwear week in and out because they have no other to change with. Without this essential need, many young girls are not able to utilize the very same sanitary pads that are donated to them in a comfortable manner.” she said.
The panties and bras are obtained by activations in various malls in the Gauteng Province where the public is encouraged to buy new underwear and donate for girls between the ages of 6 and 18. The campaign also has boxes in selected office parks where donations can be dropped off. Some drop off areas include: Dream Fashion at the Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, Eastgate Regus Office Park and the Indalo Nubian Naturals in the Johannesburg CDB.
With the Panties and Bra campaign, the aim is not only to shine a spotlight on the disadvantaged ‘Girl Child‘ by keeping her in school, but it is to also ensure that her empowerment, development and mental well-being is prioritised. This is why the campaign has recently launched a mentorship programme that aims to tackle the mental state of girls in South Africa.
The mentorship programme consists of a group of women who give girls in schools long term support in their journey to womanhood by encouraging them to work smart in school and by offering career guidance support.
“Giving them underwear is not the only thing that the foundation focuses on, turning them from girls to women is what we strive to do.” Khoza said.
To be a mentor, volunteer or benefactor, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Panties and Bras Campaign
~ Thabile Shange