From donation to delivery to athletes around the world, the journey the sports bras take can be a varied and interesting one. Most often sports bras are hand-delivered or reach The Sports Bra Project by mail. After that things can get interesting, and a bit creative.
Some continue their journey by mail; others are carried in suitcases. Larger deliveries are often packed in shipping barrels or containers with sports and educational equipment.
While tracking each bra would be daunting, you can follow from start to finish the path of three bras sent to women playing in the Nikumbuke soccer league in Kenya:
Nikumbuke Women's Soccer League, Kenya
The women's soccer league run by Nikumbuke in Kenya provides more than 200 women from rural villages in south eastern Kenya the opportunity to play in a league. Earlier this month, sports bras collected in fall and winter drives arrived.
October-December: Sports bra drives are hosted by organizations including, WI Women in Soccer Alliance, Northern State University Swimming & Diving, St. Could State S.A.A.C. and University of Pennsylvania Field Hockey.
January: Sports bras arrive at The Sports Bra Project headquarters, where they are sorted and combined to meet the requested number (200) and size needs.
February: Bras are delivered to Babette Ammerman, mother of Nikumbuke founder Brittany Ammerman. Coordinating with Rutgers University, the bras are dropped off by Babette and then packed in shipping barrels with soccer uniforms and gear and sent on their way.
May: Sports bras arrive at the Nikumbuke Center in Lunga Lunga, Kenya, and are distributed to the 200 women playing on teams representing 10 villages in the Nikumbuke Soccer League.
Kuwait Sports Club, Kuwait City
Traveling to Kuwait with the U.S. Department of State's Sport Envoy Program, Lisa Berg connected with Balsa Malayoub. Balsa is a champion fencer for Kuwait and the first woman to serve on the Kuwait Sports Club Board. The sports bras given to her will be distributed to athletes participating in the clubs sports programs. Pictured with Lisa (right) and Balsa (center) is former USWNT player and first round NWSL draft pick Sarah Huffman.
Cielenou World Children, Cameroon
This is the third year that The Sports Bra Project has been able to support female athletes in Cameroon. This year’s shipment of bras was distributed by Cielenou World Children founder Eric Yapi Cielenou to two groups. The first group to receive the bras was the Cameroon National Team players during a training camp in preparation for the 2019 World Cup. Sports bras were also given to players in the Academie National de Football program, which is similar to the U.S. Olympic Development Programs.
Partnership With Bring It Promotions
We are excited to announce that The Sports Bra Project and Bring It Promotions are partnering to provide athletes traveling with BIP the opportunity to give back by providing sports bras at clinics they will host during team travel. Iowa State Volleyball will be the first 2019 team to participate. The team collected sports bras prior to its trip to Peru, with plans to distribute them in early June. Jacksonville Volleyball Association was planning to do the same during travel to Puerto Rico in June.
Back to Where it All Began, Namibia
The Sports Bra Project traces its roots back to 2014, when founder Sarah Dwyer-Shick brought 25 sports bras with her on a trip to Namibia with Kickin' Back.
"When the opportunity to travel to Namibia came up I had already seen first hand in other countries how important and often inaccessible sports bras could be,” Dwyer-Shick said. “Given the geography and financial constraints faced by many in Namibia I thought that that might be the case there as well. Naively, I assumed that they would be of most use in remote areas. When the director of the NFA's Galz & Goals program asked if she could give the bras to their national team, I was floored. It was then I realized that the need was likely more than I could ever have imagined."
You can read more about that first delivery in this Soccer Nation article.
In April 2019, sports bras were carried by a volunteer traveling to Namibia and delivered to the NFA's Women's Desk for distribution at upcoming events. Photos coming soon!
Iowa Women in Soccer Alliance statewide collection drive continues!
In partnership with The Sports Bra Project, The Iowa Women in Soccer Alliance launched a statewide sports bra donation drive. The statewide campaign calls on youth clubs, high school, and college teams and programs from across the state of Iowa to donate one new sports bra. The drive continues through June 15th. For more information email the Soccer Alliance.
Get Involved & Help Remove Barriers to Sports Participation
The Sports Bra Project is designed to be adaptable to both the resources and needs of individuals and groups wanting to participate. We want to provide flexibility to allow participants to decide how they want to run their sports bra collection and scale it to an appropriate activity and time commitment for them. If more direction is wanted or needed, we are happy to be a resource for ideas.
Once new sports bras have been collected we will coordinate to get them where they need to go. In structuring it this way we provide individuals and teams with a way to give back and directly impact female athletes and their ability to participate in sports.