Life & Style | People

Dubai widow collecting bras for African women

Mother of three wants to pass on the undergarments to girls in Ugandan camps who remain exposed and vulnerable to social crimes

  • By Sharmila Dhal, Chief Reporter
  • Published: 21:00 August 21, 2013

  • Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Xpress
  • Making a difference: Kagugube says providing bras to impoverished African women could change their lives Zarina Fernandes/ Xpress

Dubai An African widow in Dubai has embarked on an unlikely mission: to provide bras for women in refugee camps back home.

J. Kagugube, a 36-year-old teacher and mother of three boys, said her effort would be to collect as many bras as possible - both used and new - from ‘Good Samaritans’ in the UAE and pass them on to women who are in dire need of them in Uganda.

“I do not wish to be on the wrong side of the UAE law. I ask for a bra because it is such a simple thing. The lack of it has huge psychological and social ramifications for women.”

Taken for granted

She said: “A bra is taken for granted everywhere. But not so in Uganda where young girls, orphans and widows struggle to survive and cover themselves. Based on my experience and research around African rural communities, I can say one reason why social crimes such as rape are on the rise is because impoverished women are forced to walk around without any underwear, let alone a decent blouse or skirt.”

Kagugube said clothing is a basic human right and necessity but young girls in Uganda who cannot afford to buy bras remain exposed and vulnerable while they fetch water, collect firewood or go to school.

She urged people to spare such girls a thought. “I won’t be surprised if every woman here has a few bras that she doesn’t use. Giving them away to someone in need can make a huge difference to their lives. A bra can actually save a woman’s life.”

Kagugube, who has been in Dubai for more than a year, said she has a firm resolve and she is determined to do what little she can for women back home. “I am doing this out of goodwill. There are many things we can do that money can’t buy. “

She said giving money to a woman in Africa to buy a bra would not serve the purpose. “She won’t buy it because she might want to use the money for so many other things. But giving her a bra would make a difference.”

Offering to collect bras from residents’ doorsteps, she said she would send them to Uganda after collecting a sizeable number.

Bras to spare?

Those who wish to help can write to Kagugube at

Comments (1)

Your comments
  1. Added 08:27 August 22, 2013

    It is extremely sad looking at the conditions of African women in some places. It is very common, including in my own household where members dispose their undergarments straight into the garbage not wanting it to be used by anyone else. They all say hygiene can be an issue but I say it can be cleaned off multiple times to make it re-usable by others. I would strongly recommend this campaign.

    M., Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

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