Ever wondered what happens to clothes that go into recycling bins? In countries like Uganda, they become a source of clothing that slum families are more able to afford.
Many of our families we work with purchase their clothes from Nkoma second-hand clothes market (pictured), which is located about a mile away from our school. The market is open once a week when it is completely inundated by local people, all looking for a bargain. The clothes are usually sold very cheaply.
This importing of second-hand clothes is quite a controversial issue. On the one hand, it enables the poorest people to obtain clothing at an affordable price, whilst also providing a business for the sellers. Some of our IGA parents are clothes sellers. On the other hand, when second-hand clothes began to be imported, the local clothing manufacturing industries collapsed. Tailors can now only get work repairing clothes or making special items of clothing.
In the long term, it would undoubtedly be good for Uganda not to be flooded with used clothing and the government in Uganda has often considered banning it. However, in the short term, the fact is that the poorest, including our families, are totally reliant on obtaining this clothing at a price they can afford. As always with development, there are no easy answers.
Unfortunately, Child of Hope is unable to receive donations for clothing as we have no method of shipping them to Uganda.