PEDAW Clothing Drive, by Nafiza Ali

Love our bodies, love ourselves. That phrase echoed with me for quite some time. I couldn’t quite understand why it has become such a challenge to love who we are both physically and emotionally. I first got involved with PEDAW because of my passion to help people recognize both their inner and outer beauty. We are constantly bogged down by the negativity we hear and see in the world that we no longer accept ourselves for who we are. I think we are all extraordinary people that bring a unique gift in every interaction we have with one another.

I decided to run a clothing drive because I realized how guilty I used to be with keeping clothes that were either way too big or too small for me. I remember sitting on my bed and thinking why did I even bother keeping all of this stuff especially since I don’t wear it. It hit me that I wore too big of clothes on days that I wanted to hide my body and I kept too small clothes in hopes to fit into them again. I shared this with a few friends of mine who admitted doing the same thing. This is how the idea of running a clothing drive began to form. I decided to use being a full-time student as an advantage by setting up a small space in the student lounge with empty boxes in the spring. I sent out a mass email to all the students and faculty calling this event Spring Cleaning. The boxes kept filling up during the two weeks the clothing drive ran. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and ecstatic with all the feedback I received from my colleagues. I chose Directions Youth Services Centre as a place to donate the clothing. It is an organization that provides Vancouver’s homeless youth and youth at-risk with support, guidance and striving towards positive change. Sarah, the outreach worker at Directions, was very grateful for the donation on behalf of PEDAW and was excited to distribute them to the youth that frequented the facility. I felt so proud of the time people took to look through their closets and to donate to a wonderful cause that I decided to run the clothing drive again in November. This time I let it run for the whole month and once again received a great amount of clothing donations. The theme for the second drive was Let’s Keep One Another Warm. The clothing was once again donated to Directions Youth Services Centre.

My place with PEDAW is to promote healthy body images and positive thinking in ways that can support the community. Keeping clothes in our closest that are too big or too small is damaging to one’s self-esteem. Life is to be enjoyed and rather than keeping items that oppress your confidence, why not start by making healthy choices and focusing on all the great qualities about oneself. So I say, get rid of the baggage and be happy with the body you have today. It takes you from point A to B, let’s you experience good and bad but most importantly it allows for the opportunity to interact with the world and all that it can offer. Now, how can you stay mad at your body for that?

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