It was just a normal class session in Dave Manville’s SWKE 447/547: Human Trafficking: Implications for Social Workers course last winter. That is, until one of his students introduced the program “Bras for a Cause.” Through the collection and donation of gently used and new bras, they helped women freed from sex trafficking in Uganda secure economic security and restore who they were designed to be – whole, worthy, and free. After listening intently to her description, the students unanimously asked “When do we get started?” Their efforts, in partnership with Unmasked, EMU’s Human Trafficking Awareness Organization, led to the collection of 484 bras.
One student was amazed by the impact it had on these women. “I never thought that something as common as a bra could help save a life.”
Students enrolled in Dave’s class this semester are once again partnering with Unmasked, and The Sparrow Freedom Project, and Pearls of Great Price. Their goals are to exceed the number of bras donated last year, and to send a caravan of cars (packed with bras) to a drop-off center in Indianapolis.
“Bras for a Cause” is connected to Free the Girls, an international non-profit organization. Free the Girls provides a safe and powerful economic opportunity for survivors and their families to run their own business selling bras in second-hand marketplaces. The impact on these women’s lives is immeasurable. They own land and their own homes, their children are in school, their families have access to health care, and they too are getting an education. To date, nearly one million bras have been donated.
Dave noted that, “Everyone is always asking how they can help and this is a very simple, low cost way to keep a woman and her family safe.”
Dave’s students are collecting gently used and new bras until March 1st. There are drop-off boxes in the Marshall Building on EMU’s campus, and at the Sparrow Freedom Project office in New Hudson, Michigan. Please consider giving to this cause. If you have any questions or would like to get more information please email Dave Manville at [email protected].