“Now we can go to school!” That’s the reaction of teenage girls in Uganda, receiving underwear donated by Scottish charity Smalls for All. From one person taking a suitcase full of pants to the orphanage where she had worked, to sending out thousands of donated pants and bras via larger charities, Smalls for All has grown, and so has its impact. School banks and baby banks in the UK, are also benefiting from donations of underwear that provides dignity and well-being.
Maria Macnamara launched Smalls for All in 2010. She had worked in financial services for almost 20 years when, in 2004, she decided to try a different kind of holiday and spent three weeks working with children in an orphanage in Brazil. This encouraged her to volunteer in Thailand in 2006 and Ethiopia in 2009. It was following her experience in Ethiopia that she decided to set up Smalls. In 2016, Maria gave up full-time employment to spend more time running the charity. In 2016, she was awarded an MBE for services to charity and women’s health in Africa.