In 1996 when we made our first trip to Ecuador we took anything and everything that we could on our volunteer missions. We would also make sure to include plenty of clothes and toys. With the increase of travel cost and airline restrictions on weight allowances we had to focus more on toothbrushes, toothpaste, instruments and medicines. We took fewer toys and clothes.
When we visit women in rural areas we see they have many concerns at the end of the day: getting home from the field, gathering items to feed their families and preparing a meal. Having a decent bra may not seem like much of a priority. But the support and comfort a bra provides can boost confidence and makes a woman feel better about herself.
In 2011 we were fortunate to have been introduced to Support1000 by Shellie Carter, a volunteer on our mission. Support 1000 (www.support1000.org) collects lightly used and new bras. We were so pleased and eager to partner with them. Last year, we packed over 200 bottles of deodorant and with the bras we created special packages for the women of Isla Puna in the Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador: an area that outsiders almost never visit. This year, more bras were donated by Support1000 and they were made available to women in Jama, Bahia, Ayampe, Milagro and other parts off the coast of Ecuador.
Next time you purchase or give someone a gift of a bra, buy one extra and send it to Support1000. We know we can count on them when we ask for our next volunteer travel mission to any part of the Americas. We want to thank Support1000 from the women of Ecuador for their generosity.