Pin It
women refugees beauty donation help
Photography Aliya Mirza

Women for Refugee Women wants your unused beauty products this Christmas


TextAlice Gibbs

The charity’s director Natasha Walter shares the thinking behind its appeal for beauty products, which will be used as gifts at their Christmas party for women who have fled violence

As Christmas comes around, many of us will be thinking of gifting our favourite beauty products to loved ones. But Women for Refugee Women is working to widen our beauty giving this season by appealing for donations of unwanted or unused beauty products for refugee women. The organisation supports women who are seeking refuge from persecution to rebuild their lives and communicate their own stories.

While the beauty industry has repeatedly been under fire in recent years for its contribution to waste and lack of sustainability, there is a vast gap between this and the women struggling to afford basic toiletries. Women for Refugee Women saw an opportunity to bridge this gap. “It’s an industry that generates so much surplus,” says director Natasha Walter. “Like many women, I am sometimes given beauty stuff that I just don’t use. I thought it would be good for women in need to be able to benefit from this and properly enjoy what the rest of us take for granted.

“Every year we hold a Christmas party for over 100 refugee women. These are women who have fled violence in their home countries and, even when they get to the UK, they are living insecure lives in extreme poverty,” Walter explains. “It’s a real stretch for them to even be able to afford the basics like soap and sanitary towels.” The party is an opportunity for these women, who are often ground down by their situation, to have a nice time – chatting with friends, sharing food, dancing and singing. The cherry on the cake is the carefully created gift bags containing beauty products that they can take home and enjoy. 

Women for Refugee Women begins accepting donations in November, in time for their Christmas party in December, as lack of storage space makes taking them all year round difficult. The best products to donate include high-quality perfumes, and face and body moisturisers. “Refugee women are like all of us – we like putting good quality ingredients on our skin that smell fine,” says Walters. She also notes that when thinking about donating, it’s worth considering products that everyone can use. “For example, please don’t send us something like a foundation for fair skin as we won’t have many takers!”

“Every year we hold a Christmas party for over 100 refugee women. These are women who have fled violence in their home countries and, even when they get to the UK, they are living insecure lives in extreme poverty. It’s a real stretch for them to even be able to afford the basics like soap and sanitary towels” 

Pledging to always put anything sent to good use, the organisation also notes that if you don’t have unused products to send – don’t go out and buy anything specially. Instead, why not donate to the charity online. “We run a hardship fund here so that all year round, refugee women who are in urgent need can get support,” says Walter. “Recently we’ve helped a homeless woman buy sanitary towels and soap, we’ve given a woman some cash to top up her phone so she can call her family back home, and we’ve bought a train ticket for a woman so that she can go to Liverpool for her asylum interview.” 

The impact of beauty products in this situation must, of course, be put into context. “I’m not going to overstate the difference that they make – what the women we work with really want is safety and dignity all year round,” says Walter, “but there is nothing wrong with having a bit of enjoyment even in hard times.”

For more information about Women for Refugee Women, how to send unwanted products or a donation, visit their website.

Read Next
Tik Tok
Meet the #TikTokDocs giving professional medical advice through trap music Beauty Feature
IMG_20200201_103217
I did downward dogs with actual puppies and (obviously) loved it Tried and Tested
Guide Beauty
Guide Beauty is a new make-up brand perfect for people with shaky hands Beauty news
Emma Dabiri
Author Emma Dabiri is fighting for Afro hair to be protected by the law Beauty Feature
TikTok
TikTok users are celebrating their natural beauty using works of art Beauty news
hair trend 2020 buller and rice salon london
5 upcoming 2020 hair trends to try before they’re everywhere Beauty Trends
Rook
Rook Perfumes wants to transport you to the forest with new collection Beauty news
rae wellness metabolism drops tiktok weight loss
An expert weighs in on Rae’s metabolism drops, TikTok’s viral wellness fad Beauty Feature
fka twigs cat birthday party ed marler matthew josephs
The cat’s pyjamas: Exclusive snaps of FKA twigs’ cat-themed birthday party Photo story
Erykah Badu
‘A whole nother kinda pu$$¥’: Erykah Badu on Gwyneth’s Goop vagina candle Beauty news
calvin klein ck everyone mlma campaign fragrance
MeLoveMeALot on cloning herself on Instagram, genderless beauty, and more Beauty Feature
billy hargrove stranger things dacre montgomery moustache
A pop culture timeline of the bumfluff ‘tache Beauty Feature
Rihanna 2
Which classic Rihanna hairstyle are you? Beauty Quiz
ColourPop Sailor moon
Sailor Moon make-up is here and we are obsessed Beauty news
cv dazzle anti facial recognition beauty make up
How beauty is being used to fight back against facial recognition and CCTV Beauty Feature
1975 Birthday Party
Matty Healy on how incel culture inspired The 1975’s latest video Beauty Feature