Every morning, many women and girls in countries like Haiti wake up and wonder if they'll have enough to eat that day. They lack bare essentials like adequate shelter and the ability to work or go to school. But there's one simple thing that can ease some of these burdens: underwear.
They live with little to call their own due to extreme poverty caused by environmental, social and political consequences. Panties will make a profound difference in the lives of women and girls by boosting their self-esteem and giving them the confidence they need to attend school and carry out their daily activities, said Kelly Arthur of ThinkPeace workshop for Girls in Saratoga Springs.
ThinkPeace and To Love a Child of Ballston Lake are pioneering the "Drop off Your Drawers" campaign to collect clean, unworn panties for girls in Haiti and Africa. The organizations hope to collect at least 5,000 pairs of underwear and already have around 1,000.
"Girls here just take for granted certain things like having clean underwear in their drawers in the morning. But in Haiti or Africa, girls don't get to go to school if they don't have those things, and incidents of rape for young girls is much higher," said Arthur.
Arthur and her friend in California co-founded ThinkPeace to serve as a place for girls to look beyond their own little world and become empowered, not only to take control of their own lives but to help make a difference in the lives of their sisters all over the globe.
"I found there was this big hole that girls were being raised really not knowing about the world outside them, and as they got into middle school, it seemed to get worse. The issues became so girl-centric, issues they have with getting along with each other and the mean girls syndrome," said Arthur, who is the mother of 11- and 13-year-old daughters. "My friend Liz and I said, 'We've got to break this cycle and get them to think outside themselves more.' Get them caring about each other and thinking globally, and maybe stop this fighting with each other because mean texting and emails seems like an epidemic. If we focus on bigger issues, things like the clothes they're wearing, not fitting in or boyfriends are diluted and don't seem as significant."