Underwear for Eastern Europe: A Global Hand match story

It made no sense. The young widow, a trained teacher in Eastern Europe, had battled for years without employment. Natalka (not her real name) had three children to bring up. A colleague found her a job in a high school where she expected the widow to thrive.

Inexplicably, though, Natalka, after agreeing to the job with huge excitement, never showed up. A day turned into a week and the school, understandably, ran out of patience. Her friend was mortified, but heard nothing to explain Natalka’s failure to appear.

In time, she found Natalka and the mystery was explained.

The simple truth was that Natalka had no underwear and was terrified to stand up in front of a class full of giggling, teasing teenage boys. This basic item, taken for granted by women, in many countries, cost Natalka the very work that would have saved her family. She lost the job.

Against this backdrop, we were quietly delighted when an Australian company offered, on our Global Hand website, 12,000 new bras. Mission Without Borders (MWB) Australia, a charity serving children, families and elderly people suffering poverty and oppression in Eastern Europe, responded with such enthusiasm that the manufacturer increased the gift to 17,000 and then an astonishing 50,000.

How many ‘Natalka’s’ might this gift have benefited? MWB Australia reported that every one of its Eastern European branches requested this basic provision for their women.

Global Hand, an initiative of Crossroads Foundation, helps businesses find ways to partner with NGOs, whether through job creation, pro-bono services, gifts-in-kind, financial support or other means. Search for projects around the world that are seeking corporate partners!

  • Photo courtesy of Mission Without Borders Australia


Partnership types

Provision of goods

Regions / countries / territories

Europe: 5 countries (show)

Global issues

Community development

Goods categories

Apparel & fashion