KOCHI: Anjaly Thomas has had an enduring love affair with Africa. “It’s the animals, the wildness and the rawness,” says the Dubai-based writer/traveller who has her roots at Sulthan Bathery.
“Everything is still so strange even though I have visited Africa more than a dozen times. It is such a different continent, compared to Asia. That is what makes travelling to Africa so interesting,” she said. It was during her trips to Africa, over several years, that Anjaly noticed something that upset her – most of the women, especially those living in rural areas, do not wear bras.
“In many parts of Africa, women cannot afford it. There might be worldwide debates on the subject of ‘Not Wearing Bra’ for various reasons, but in Africa, not wearing one makes the women prone to molestation and rape. If they wear bras, it would improve their social status and give them self-confidence to deal with atrocities.” Considering these benefits, Anjaly is trying to do her bit through her ’emBRAce’ campaign. Under the initiative, which was launched as part of the Travel and Relief programme she started three years ago, bras are distributed among the poor women. Recently, Anjaly flew to Uganda and distributed 400 of them.When asked why she selected Uganda, Anjaly says, “it just happened that I was scheduled to travel there. Having been to that country before, I was aware of the situation in the rural areas.
“The need of a woman in Uganda is the same as that of one in Kenya. This campaign is not limited to one country alone.”But, for the time being, Anjaly is concentrating on Africa. “It is my most favourite place in the world. So, I know about the plight of the women there. I will be concentrating on the eastern African countries of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya,” she said. Anjaly depends on donations to fund her charity activity.