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'Give your best' empowers refugees in need of clothes

Words by Smiley Team

One woman has decided to reinvent clothing donations by connecting pre-loved clothes with those who don’t just need them – but actually choose them. 

'Give Your Best' is a catalogue of gifted women's clothes and accessories that can be ‘shopped’ for free by people in the UK. The organisation aims to empower people in need of women's clothes who are refugees, seeking asylum, destitute, with no recourse to public funds or with precarious immigration status.

Contributing to restoring people's dignity is important to the organisation, and they believe someone's legal status and financial circumstances shouldn't mean a lack of choice in what they want to wear.  

Give Your Best was founded when Sol Escobar and Ilda connected via Instagram. Ilda was (and still is) seeking asylum, surviving on an allowance of just £5.60 per day during the coronavirus pandemic, and unable to afford basics like menstrual products. 

(Read about the five football designs raising funds for refugees)

The beginnings of Give Your Best

Sol decided she wanted to send a parcel of toiletries, period products and clothes to Ilda’s household, which she shares with other women in the same situation. She put a call out for donations on social media and the response was overwhelming. 

Messages of support for the women poured in along with many offers of clothing – and Sol soon realised she needed to come up with a system. That's how she had the idea to create an Instagram-based catalogue of donations so women would be empowered to choose the items they wanted to receive. 

Sol shared this idea on Instagram, asking for help to bring it to life and a few women reached out immediately wanting to support. That’s how, on a Friday night during the 2020 pandemic, three strangers had a Zoom call and Give Your Best was born. 

Sustainability at its core

Give Your Best is passionate about sustainability and tackling donation waste. It's also an LGBTQI+ inclusive platform, standing strongly for all human rights. 

Currently, the organisation is joining forces with sustainable designer Lora Gene, to prove that fashion brands have a major role to play in changing popular false narratives, while directly improving women’s lives, regardless of their status and purchasing power. 

(Learn more about how asylum seekers survived the pandemic

Lora Gene has been outspoken on issues related to the female experience, such as the treatment of garment workers and the importance of size inclusivity, and will be raising awareness of their work and offering an incentive to anyone who gifts clothes to women in the community.

Give Your Best needs people across to the UK to sign up to volunteer to collect clothes, by doing a collective drive, or nominating your house as a drop off point for unwanted clothing items. You can find out more on the GYB website, or sign up to volunteer.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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