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Impilo Collection Foundation’s campaign against GBV during 16 days of activism

Impilo Collection Foundation to display over 6,000 bras at Constitutional Hill on the 27th of November 2021 as an act of non-tolerance to the social norms perpetuating gender-based violence, before handing over its memorandum to the Constitutional Court.

Born out of the desperate need to help fellow South Africans struggling under the harsh conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic, Impilo Collection Foundation has been fortunate to serve and learn from people in some of the country’s most socially and economically vulnerable communities.

In March this year, the Foundation distributed one ton of sanitary pads to schoolgirls in townships and rural communities around Gauteng, including The Kids Haven Child and Youth Care Centre in Benoni and Bophelong Emilweni New Life Centre in Thembisa.

During the time of engagement with the young girls, women, educators, and volunteers at the centers, Impilo was alerted to the need for quality bras for the young girls and women, particularly those experiencing a changing body due to puberty.

“To me, a bra is not only something that provides physical support but is also a symbol of the feminine spirit and strength. Hearing that some of the girls have experienced sexual harassment and abuse for not having access to a bra- something that most of us take for granted- was shocking to me, and I knew we had to do something,” says Angela Yeung, founder of Impilo Collection Foundation.

She recalls an encounter with a Grade 12 learner at Kids Haven, Thando (not her real name) who expressed how the lack of a bra often becomes a reason for girls to not only get sexually assaulted and abused but also shy away from the world and lose their confidence in the process.

“Sometimes the boys and men in our communities think we are asking for sexual attention just because the bra we wear does not fit properly or you are not wearing one because you cannot afford it, I have friends who have been sexually harassed and abused just for that,” Thando expressed.

On Saturday, the 27th of November, Impilo Collection Foundation will be doing its part by adding its voice in the fight against GBV to expose the lesser-known causes behind Gender Based Violence during the global, 16 days of activism.

The Foundation will take to Constitutional Hill to display over 6,000 quality, professionally cleaned and packaged bras on the lawns of the Constitutional Hill, as an act of female empowerment before handing over its memorandum describing the changes that need to be made to Gender Based Violence laws to MEC Faith Mazibuko.

“Constitutional Hill represents some of the parallels between the tragedies faced by women of all races and classes in our past, as well as today, and the urgent need for civil society to stand up and do our part in ensuring that what is in our constitution is followed through on. The only way this can be achieved is by holding our political leaders accountable,” explains Jasmine Black, Youth Ambassador at Impilo.

Impilo Collection Foundation’s social warriors will distribute the bras to beneficiaries including The Helen Joseph Women’s Hostel in Alexandre, AmCare in Alberton, Benoni Home for Youth, Tembisa Child Welfare as well as the inspiration behind this campaign, Kids Haven in Benoni, at a later stage in the year.

“This campaign is one way of saying that we, as a foundation, hear the cries of South African girls and women and are doing something about it by shining a spotlight on some causes of GBV that may be overlooked but are very much a part of our social construct. We are also sending a message to the government that they need to do more to put an end to GBV (2 700 women and young girls lost their lives because of Gender-Based Violence last year) and empower women and young girls in our society.” Yeung concluded

Impilo Collection Foundation believes that it is the responsibility of each and every South African to put an end to violence against children and women by taking a stand in their own families, neighbourhoods, and communities at large.

The campaign will take place on Saturday 27 November at the Constitutional Hill from 11:00 to 14:00. Everyone is welcome to join and add a bra to the display.

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