Friday, January 15, 2016

Instilling Confidence in Women

The Dubai-based Anjaly Thomas has started a campaign, initially, in Africa, to donate bras to poor women

Photos: Anjaly Thomas with the women of Uganda

By Shevlin Sebastian

Anjaly Thomas has had an enduring love affair with Africa. “The animals, the wildness, the rawness,” says the Dubai-based writer/traveller, who is from Sulthan Bathery. “Everything is so strange even though I have visited Africa more than a dozen times. It is such a different continent from Asia. That is what makes travelling so interesting.”

But it was during these travels, over several years, that Anjaly noticed something that upset her. Most of the women, especially in the rural areas, did not wear any bras. “In many parts of Africa, the women cannot afford it,” says Anjaly. “There might be worldwide debates on the subject of 'not wearing a bra' for various reasons, but in Africa, not wearing one subjects them to molestation and rape. If you wear one, it improves a woman’s social status and gives her the self-confidence to deal with untoward incidents.”

Because of these benefits, Anjaly is trying to do her bit. Through her ‪#‎emBRAce‬ campaign, undertaken as part of Travel and Relief that she started three years ago, bras are being distributed to poor people. Recenly, Anjaly flew to Uganda and distributed 400 bras.

Asked her reason to select Uganda, Anjaly says, “It just happened that I was scheduled to travel there. Having been to the country before, I was aware of the situation in the rural areas. The need of a woman in Uganda is the same as that of one in Kenya. This campaign is not limited to one country alone.”

But, for the time being, Anjaly is concentrating on Africa. “It is my most favourite place in the world,” she says. “So I know about the plight of the women there. I will be concentrating my efforts in the eastern African countries like Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.” 

(The New Indian Express, Kerala State editions)

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