Smalls for All is a charity set up in 2010 and created following a series of trips to orphanages where founder Maria Macnamara worked as a volunteer.
Today, Smalls for All and their supporters help to collect and distribute underwear, both new pants and new or gently worn bras, to women and children in Africa who need it most. They help those living in orphanages or IDP camps, as well as those suffering from medical conditions like fistula. And Smalls is helping to fund the education of seven children in Kenya, so they can look forward to a better future. They are continuing to work with other local charitable organisations in Africa to ensure they provide help in a practical and sustainable way.
While speaking in Zimbabwe about the lack of underwear and the problems this can cause, it was discovered that it is not only a health and hygiene problem for many poor African communities – women often only own one pair of tattered pants or have none at all, but underwear is also seen as a status symbol and offers a degree of security. Women who can afford underwear tend to be seen as having someone who cares for them – a husband, brother or father. They are not on their own so they are not seen as vulnerable.